Emerald rings and emeralds in general have long held a certain mystic appeal to them, and they transcend across many time periods and cultures. There have been references and anecdotes regarding emeralds since ancient times, and later on part of the fascination with the “New World” began when Spanish conquistadors began shipping back large quantities of them from what eventually became Latin America. And who could leave out Ireland? The country has long been called the Emerald Isle due to its lush green countryside, which many find similar to the color of emeralds.
Emeralds are a type of mineral that get their famous green color from trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium (more on this later). In addition to solid green, yellow and blue hues have also been found in the stone. The emerald is the birthstone for May, as well as the gemstone for Taurus in astrology terms.
Emerald rings are found among many kinds of people, all the way up to royalty. In fact, sale of emeralds skyrocketed after Britain’s Princess Mary received an emerald engagement ring in 1930, and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, currently wears a ring with an emerald-cut diamond with three diamond baguettes on either side. Celebrities wear emerald rings too, of course, and just earlier this year actress and model Halle Berry received an engagement ring from her fiancée that features a gorgeous green emerald of four carats, set in a textured, gold setting (gold goes great with emeralds).
The popularity of the stone is such that there are both women’s and men’s emerald rings. As you will find when you head to Tiffany’s or Zales (or other jeweler of your choice) they may take the form of wedding rings or regular jewelry, and they come in a wide variety of styles. They come set on virtually every metal used for ring bands, though emerald rings with a gold band are considered to be particularly popular.
When shopping for emerald rings, however, one must always be wary of the various fakes that are floating around the market. Even highly recognized brands like Jared or Kay Jewelers may stock fake emerald rings (though this is largely because some people simply cannot afford real ones). Like other types of gems, the emerald’s popularity has caused people to create faux emeralds with glass or crystal (plastic is out there, but it is a little too obvious to be very successful on jewelry markets). If you know you’re no jewelry appraiser, how can you tell the genuine emerald rings from the fakes?
For starters, the price is a great indicator of the materials used in an emerald ring. Jewelers and shop keepers can get in a lot of trouble should they sell items for much higher than their actual value, so legitimate businesses will always be honest when it comes to price, if not forthright about the legitimacy of the gem. So, if the shade of green is very intense or bright and the stone has a very clean and brilliant luster (shine) that is plainly visible, the price of the emerald should be over 500 USD a carat. If the emerald ring is being presented for less than this, it may appear to be a good deal, but the price is just not very realistic for a genuine emerald. Basically, a suspiciously low price tag indicates that you are probably looking at green-colored glass or crystal, not real emeralds.
The country of origin is also a clue as to the legitimacy of the emerald. For example, if the jewelry was produced in China or Taiwan, chances are the emerald may be a fake. On the other hand, if the gem came from a place that mines real emeralds, such as Colombia or Brazil (a legitimate jeweler should have an idea of where other mining locations are), it might very well be a real emerald.
Another factor concerning the legitimacy of emeralds also happens to be whether or not you live in the United States. In the 1960s the U.S. jewelry industry changed the definition of “emerald” to include the green vanadium-bearing beryl as an emerald. As a result, those vanadium emeralds that are purchased as real emeralds in the United States are not recognized as real emeralds in Europe and certain other countries. In the U.S. the distinction between traditional emeralds (those recognized everywhere) and the more recently included vanadium emeralds is often made more distinct with the usage of terms such as “Colombian Emerald” among the jewelry community.
However, lab created emerald rings are not necessarily to be confused fake emerald rings. While faux emeralds may be made of crystal or glass, lab created ones have the same qualities as the Earth’s naturally created emeralds. As their name implies, lab created emerald rings have stones that are man-made in a laboratory, under as close to the same conditions in nature (well, as close as possible). In fact, the quality of lab created emeralds is so close to that of naturally occurring emeralds that it is rather difficult— even for the pros— to differentiate between the natural and a synthetic gemstone. When synthetic emeralds were first created, it was easier to tell the difference because the man-made ones were actually too pure and too perfect when compared to their natural created counterparts. However, more recent times have seen the the production methods of emerald rings with lab created stones become far more sophisticated and advanced, so that now it is now next to impossible for the untrained eye to distinguish a synthetic emerald from a natural one.
Although the stones’ worth is marked generally lower than natural ones, lab created ones provide a way for emerald rings to be mass produced at a cheaper price (meaning more people can afford them) without disrupting nature to mine for the stones. They are great alternatives for those who do not want to make such big investments. For those who are willing, there are always the natural ones.