Many are drawn to the sumptuous colour and prestige of an emerald engagement ring. But before you commit your heart and mind to an emerald, why not consider some of its stunning, but lesser known green gemstone rivals — tsavorite, chrome tourmaline and green sapphire?
The allure of an emerald engagement ring
An emerald is considered the quintessential green gemstone, coveted for more than two thousand years. This enigmatic stone is synonymous with royalty, prestige and glamour. Its great mystique is also attributed to a long history and rich symbology across many cultures.
Emeralds have adorned some of the most famous and influential women in history, including Cleopatra, Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor and Queen Elizabeth. And many celebrities, including Victoria Beckham and Olivia Wilde wear an emerald engagement ring.
As a jewellery designer and lover of green gemstone jewellery, I know firsthand just how magical and desirable an emerald can be. One of the most popular requests I receive is for an emerald engagement ring. However, whilst a couple may initially have their heart set on this, an emerald is not always the stone they ultimately choose.
The truth about emeralds
Most emeralds are actually quite fragile. Emeralds may rate highly on the Mohs Hardness Scale (making them difficult to scratch), but they can be quite vulnerable to cracking. This is because many emeralds are highly included. In fact, the ’emerald cut’ was developed to reduce the risk of breakage by minimising the number of cuts. Many emeralds are also treated to enhance their durability and reduce the appearance of inclusions. However, this can make repairs problematic if damage does occur.
Is an emerald a good choice for an engagement ring?
If your heart is simply set on an emerald (and you have a very good budget), you should consider a cut, quality and setting that will protect the stone. To maximise your emerald’s longevity, you should —
- remove it when it could be knocked
- avoid heat and chemicals
- avoid ultrasonic cleaners
- use mild, soapy, lukewarm water and a soft brush to clean it
- prepare for repairs.
What are the alternatives to an emerald engagement ring?
If it is really a green gemstone that you desire and you are open to other ideas, I am delighted to introduce you to three very worthy alternatives — tsavorite, chrome tourmaline and green sapphire.
Tsavorite (or tsavolite) — a ‘new’ and formidable green gemstone
A tsavorite is a very rare and spectacular green garnet discovered in the 1960s by a British geologist in Africa. Its colour can be similar to an emerald but its clarity, brilliance and durability is superior. This is why tsavorite is considered a better choice for an engagement ring.
Tsavorites suit a much wide range of cuts than emeralds. They are often seen in round brilliant, oval and cushion cuts, which really enhance their colour and sparkle.
Because a coloured gemstone’s value is driven (in part) by demand, you can expect to pay a lot less than an emerald for a high quality stone. Tsavorites are new and relatively unknown, but this is definitely changing. Tsavorites are growing in popularity and are considered a very worthwhile investment. Many jewellers adore them.
A tsavorite’s clarity, brilliance and durability is superior to an emerald, making it a better choice for an engagement ring.
Chrome tourmaline — one of the rarest of tourmalines
Deep in Brazil in the 1500s, a Spanish conquistador washed the dirt from a spectacular green stone and declared it an emerald. 300 years later scientists recognised his error and identified the green gemstone as a new mineral — tourmaline.
Tourmalines are one of my personal favourites because they can be found in all the colours of the rainbow. Chrome tourmaline is known for its rich green hue. Chrome tourmalines actually share some of the same minerals as emeralds, which results in a similar tone.
Tourmalines may be less ‘hard’ than emeralds, but they do have greater clarity, making them tougher and more brilliant. So tourmaline is a stunning option for an engagement ring, especially in square or rectangular radiant, oval and cushion cuts.
Chrome tourmalines are one of the rarest of their kind, making them very desirable. However, when compared to high quality emeralds, tourmalines are much less expensive.
Green sapphire — the multi-dimensional green gemstone
Sapphires share the podium with emeralds as one of the most loved coloured gemstones in the world. Known largely for their majestic blue tones, sapphires can also be found in an amazing array of colours. And with incredible brilliance and a hardness second only to diamonds, sapphires are perfect for engagement rings.
Green sapphires can be just as captivating as their blue counterparts and are becoming increasingly popular. Some exhibit a multidimensional tone, which is mesmerising under different lights. This is actually due to a mix of blue and yellow sapphire in the stone.
Because they are less in demand, green sapphires are less expensive than blue sapphires. So for a similar investment, you can get a much larger and better quality stone for your engagement ring.
So which green gemstone will it be?
The process of selecting a coloured gemstone is quite different to a diamond. So whether it is an emerald or a tsavorite that you desire, it is important to consult with a coloured gemstone expert. An expert can:
- recommend the right gemstone to suit your taste, lifestyle and budget
- ethically source the gemstone of your choice
- design a setting that maximises the beauty of your stone.
Coloured gemstones are my speciality and designing exquisite settings to really showcase them is my passion. And I love collaborating with my customers to bring the ring of their dreams to life.
To discuss a bespoke design or to enquire about a piece you have seen on this website, please complete an enquiry form or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be my absolute pleasure to assist you.