There has been an unprecedented shift when it comes to engagement rings. Diamonds are no longer the default choice.
While the iconic stone remains popular, partners are becoming braver with colour and opting for exquisite gemstones and rings with a difference.
Traditional diamond rings that used to tick all of the boxes are now being swapped out for something a little more out of the jewellery box. People are looking for designs that have thoughtful details that speak to the wearer.
Last year, modern luxury jeweller Fenton found that Emerald was the best-selling gemstone with over 35% of its ring sales featuring Emerald centre stones. People are steadily gravitating to more originality, with many wanting their engagement ring to be an extension of their style and personality.
Sage advice: We hear why Emeralds are this season’s hottest stone from expert modern jewellers Fenton
A ring that says something about YOU: Standard diamonds are giving way to their more colourful counterparts
Emeralds are up to 20 times rarer than mined diamonds, so make a perfect choice. Their formation requires a specific set of conditions including rare set of chemicals, pressure, temperature and time making them true miracles of nature.
Throughout history, Emeralds have been associated with royalty and opulence. The enchanting gemstone’s popularity dates back to ancient civilisations who believed Emeralds possessed healing powers and are said to symbolise peace, growth, new beginnings and fertility and love.
Emeralds have vintage appeal without feeling outdated. They are timeless. Whether it’s family traditions, a birthstone or just the ‘wow’ factor of its potent green beauty, Emeralds are in demand.
Our top picks from Fenton’s stunning collection
As their popularity is on the rise once again, from centre stones to accent stones, we will explore everything you need to know about this magnificent gemstone when picking an engagement ring.
Know your history
Every gemstone has its own unique history, but the Emerald has a particularly interesting past. They were first mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC but some experts have dated the oldest ones as being almost 3 billion years old.
The earliest prominent historical figure to be associated with the gem is, of course, Cleopatra. The Queen of the Nile used Emeralds on most of her royal adornments as ancient Egyptians believed its green colour represented fertility and rebirth.
One of the world’s largest Emeralds – weighing in at an astonishing 1,383.93 carats – resides here in the UK. The uncut Duke of Devonshire Emerald was given to William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire by Emperor Pedro I of Brazil back in 1831.
In more recent decades, Emeralds have famously been sported by American First Ladies, Hollywood actors, popstars and royalty. Their undeniably allure still captures the public imagination when one appears on a ring following a high-profile engagement.
Be clear on clarity
The four C’s that are associated with diamonds – colour, clarity, cut and carat, can also be applied to Emeralds, though there is no standardised grading system for coloured gemstones.
All stones are assessed individually and – although every category is considered – because each stone is completely unique, the lapidary (gemstone cutter) will cut each Emerald in a way that highlights their best features.
When buying an Emerald, don’t expect a flawless, translucent gemstone. Every gemstone will have internal characteristics, called inclusions, which can seem like imperfections or blemishes to the untrained eye.
These features are natural and occur during the crystallisation process. Many factors influence these inclusions like their geographical origin. This is what makes them unique, like fingerprints. You will never find the same twice.
From wispy feather-like inclusions to even liquid droplets, they present in different ways, meaning your Emerald will truly be a one-of-a-kind with its own history that makes it beautiful.
Fenton however does not source Emeralds that have black mineral inclusions because this notably affects the beauty of the gemstone.
Discover the perfect shape and cut
You may be familiar with the emerald cut. It’s called the emerald cut because it was created to get the best out of these gemstones and later, diamond cutters began to see the benefits of this specific cut on diamonds too.
As Emeralds are formed in long crystals, the rectangular shape of an emerald cut lends itself well and shows off the gemstone’s depth of colour while also taking its weakest points off, the corners make it much stronger.
Depth of colour: A rectangular shape cut lets the deep green hues sing while also making it more structurally sound
That being said, like other gemstones, you can get Emeralds in a variety of shapes so you’re able to create something special for you and your partner.
Fenton has found that the emerald cut is popular with its clients when choosing precious engagement rings, as is the oval cut which along with round and cushion cuts makes it seem more ‘sparkly’ as they have lots of facets.
When picking your engagement ring it’s important to note that an emerald cut in any gemstone will always be less forgiving and so if you’re worried about being able to see inclusions, consider a more faceted cut like the oval, which may hide them better.
Read up on the origins
As a society we are becoming more conscious about where we are buying from, people are seeking out more ethical and eco-friendly options and now we can buy online, transparency is of utmost importance.
Keep it ethical: It’s essential to understand where your stones come from, making sure no child labour went into creating your treasured piece
The gemstone mining industry, much like its stones, has its flaws. Modern luxury jewellers like Fenton make a great effort to ensure that the mines it works with can adhere to its responsible mining policy that it has in place.
That ensures that no child labour is used when mining these gemstones, strict health and safety policies are in place as well as equal pay for all.
It also promises never to work with mines in conflict zones and makes sure systems are in place to protect the local environment.
With any gemstone you decide on for your perfect engagement, one of the most important questions you should ask your jeweller is where it’s come from.
Eco is the way to go: An engagement ring is one to be passed down the generations, so protecting the environment should also be a priority
Ethical jewellers Fenton make sure systems are in place to protect the environment surrounding where they source their gems from
Fenton takes great pride in sourcing Emeralds in particular, as Lily, Fenton’s Head UK Gemmologist, said:
‘We love sourcing Emeralds for our customers. It is rather magical to know that each Emerald has formed by pure chance of circumstances over millions of years ago before any of us were born, patiently waiting to be found, then later seeing it sparkling on the hands of our lovely customers, knowing they will treasure their stone for generations to come is special every time.’
Care is easier than you may think
If you’re thinking about buying an Emerald engagement ring, it’s important to be aware that though they have a reputation for bring brittle – they’re not as hard to care for as you’d imagine.
They are softer than Diamonds, Rubies and Sapphires and they can be more prone to scratches and chipping. But just by taking a little more care, they can still be worn every day – though you don’t want to be doing the gardening while wearing it. Instead, find a safe place to keep it and this way, you can protect it.
When you need to clean an Emerald ring, it’s important not to use harsh chemicals or an ultrasonic cleaner as this can weaken the beautiful stone. To clean it, it’s really simple. Use tepid water and a soft toothbrush to gently clean.
Keep an eye on cost
Many people consider it the five C’s rather than the four C’s as cost is a big deciding factor in what engagement ring you choose.
As an engagement plays such a unique role in a couple’s life, it’s designed to be treasured for a lifetime and beyond, as well as signify a relationship, often people will want to make a considerable investment. But understandably in recent times, people are having to shop smarter and are having to become savvier in achieving the most value for money.
Fifth of the four ‘C’s: Cost is front of mind for many when investing in a forever piece, and a lower price point shouldn’t mean a compromise on quality
In years gone by, people have paid through the nose for a big name brand but these days, people are getting braver and bolder in their choices and stepping out of the norm.
As Emeralds are more affordable than diamond centre stones, it means you can choose a bigger centre stone for your design, which will give it a wow factor.
Fenton guarantees luxury quality but at a fraction of the cost. They cut out the middlemen that hike up the price. Fenton has a unique, smarter way of directly sourcing its gemstones from the mines without sacrificing that all-important quality.
With its founding jeweller trained at a number of the biggest jewellers on Bond Street, customers can be assured that they are receiving the highest quality with the best expertise.
When it comes to cost, it’s important to do your research and compare, so that you can be assured that you’re getting top quality for that hefty price tag.
The Emerald of his eye: She said YES – and with the perfect ring, how could she not?
It’s a special and personal moment we all LOVE to hear about. Happy couples share how they popped the question having found the ring of their dreams.
After 9 years together, Nick proposed to me on our balcony in Lake Como with the most beautiful Emerald ring while our dog watched.
– Abi shares how Nick got on one knee with her Emerald Star Ring.
We were sat on a bench overlooking the ocean in Porthleven in Cornwall when he got down on one knee and popped the question! We went for champagne and local cider straight after to celebrate!
– Sophia on her seaside proposal as Will gave her the Emerald Trilogy Ring she’d always dreamed of getting.
We got engaged over Christmas Eve on the Palladium Bridge in Bath, Somerset with a beautiful Fenton ring. It really is gorgeous
– Rebecca completed a treasure hunt to find Steve was on one knee with a gorgeous Emerald Vintage Ring.
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