Everything You Need to Know About Emeralds

Celtic Heart Knot Emerald Set White Gold Ring
Celtic Heart Knot Emerald Set White Gold Ring

The beautiful green emerald has been associated with Ireland for hundreds of years.

Symbolizing hope and renewal, they're a prized possession for stars and royalty. As the May birthstone they are coveted in jewelry and as a gift or as an engagement, eternity ring or anniversary gift. It can also be embedded beautifully in a Claddagh ring as the centre stone. 

What many people don't know is that despite Ireland's Forty Shades of Green and being known as 'the Emerald Isle', the emerald is a stone not native to Ireland. 

While used extensively in Irish rings, bracelets, brooches, earrings and necklaces, Emeralds are largely from Colombia and their association with this country is largely because of their stunning and vivid green colour.

Emeralds have a big range when it comes to colour - they can go from pale green tones to deep green. The most prized are the very deep green gems. How the colours vary is because of the exact amount of trace elements found in them. Emeralds are formed when chromium, vanadium, and iron are present in the mineral beryl. The way these three elements are present and vary gives emeralds their range of color. Chromium and vanadium create the intense green color.

Claddagh Heart Emerald Set Ring
Claddagh Heart Emerald Set Ring

The Emerald Isle 
The term “Emerald Isle” and the description of Ireland as an emerald unsurprisingly came from a poem.  Written in 1795, Dr. William Drennan from Belfast who was a political activist came up with the phrase in his poem - "Erin". The words included: 
Arm of Erin, be strong! but be gentle as brave; 
And uplifted to strike, be still ready to save; 
Let no feeling of vengeance presume to defile; 
The cause of, or the men of, the Emerald Isle.

The Four C's
Just like diamonds and other precious stones, emeralds can be judged according to the four C's. They are color, cut, clarity and carat.  When it comes to cut, many emeralds are actually cut into the emerald shape which is rectangular and elongated and really shows it off to great effect. It can be particularly beautiful in a ring but is also stunning as earrings or as a pendant. There is a very wide price range when it comes to emeralds - ranging from affordable to completely priceless. They're often chosen as an alternative to a diamond. 

Claddagh Ring with Emerald and Diamonds
Claddagh Ring with Emerald and Diamonds

If you decide to choose an emerald, you're in good company. A favourite of the modern royals, they were also worn by actress Elizabeth Taylor and Angelina Jolie. They've been mined for over 4000 years, and they were considered a symbol of eternal youth by the Egyptians who liked to be buried with them! Ancient Romans thought that looking at them would relieve stress and eye strain!

The elegant emerald is certainly here to stay.
Posted on February 2, 2023