Last updateWed, 25 Mar 2020 1pm

The Story Behind the Stone: Green Goddess

On St. Patrick’s Day, we’re all Irish. And what better way to celebrate it than with wearin’ o-the green? Bright, lively emeralds would be my suggestion to set a festive mood - not just on St. Patrick’s Day, but throughout the year.

Jarrett ring18K white gold Colombian emerald and diamond ring; Courtesy Queen Emerald.

Royal History

Emeralds share a long and enviable love affair with royalty from every epoch. It’s well known that Egyptian ruler Cleopatra adored emeralds so much so that she acquired a mine to keep herself in ample supply of the verdant stones. Her mines are believed to be those at Wadi Sikait, by Mount Zubara situated in Upper Egypt, near the Red Sea.

Their Allure in Ancient Times

Part of emerald’s allure, besides their rarity and enticing coloration, is due to how ancient peoples thought of these gems. In those times, emeralds were believed to be a powerful symbol of fertility and rebirth. So Egyptian embalmers often placed emeralds on the throat of a mummy to empower the deceased with protection on their journey to the Underworld and to ensure youthful strength and energy when they emerged in the afterlife.

Modern Choice - Ancient Gem

Modern Royal watchers may recall the step away from strict tradition that Britain’s Princess Eugenie took for her wedding topper choice. It is traditional for royal brides to don an all diamond tiara (sometimes with white pearls) for their wedding headdress. Eugenie, with her deep auburn tresses, chose the Greville Kokoshnik tiara, c.1919, with its mammoth (93.7ct) central emerald and matching side emeralds that complete the tiara.

The Expert Voice

But emeralds don’t need royal approval to reign as the most popular gemstone for jewelry collectors. Jose Miguel Rodriguez, president of Florida-based Queen Emerald, knows a lot about these rare jewels. He and his family have been sourcing top quality emeralds from Colombia for over 40 years.

“The green color of a genuine natural emerald is so unique and distinctive that it’s very difficult to be duplicated in a laboratory,” Rodriguez claims, “because not only for its grass green hue, but also for the life that you can see inside each crystal. We call that green fire; making them like no other gem.”

Sophisticated jewelry collectors are drawn to the unique characteristics of emeralds, which distinguish one from the other. Rodriguez points out that every single emerald has its own green color (hue, tone and saturation), its own clarity and its unique ability to reflect light.  “So, when you have a natural emerald,” he says, “you can be completely sure you have a special crystal created exclusively by nature under perfect conditions.” 

Jarrett pend18K white gold pendant featuring a 2.74ct Colombian emerald: Courtesy Queen Emerald.

The Best of the Best

Gemstone lovers are attracted to emerald without any nudging. But their appreciation will be enhanced once they learn some of its ancient pedigree. Experts consider Colombian emeralds to be the finest examples of that gem. Colombia’s renowned Muzo mines are regarded as the Emerald Capital of the world. Colombian emeralds are known for possessing a high quality that is lauded the world over, and for producing the best and brightest colors. “Color gemstones are always fun, but emerald’s green is so intense, deep and profound,” Rodriguez says, “that is what collectors and jewelry lovers see when they have a natural Colombian emerald in front of them.”

Award winning trade journalist and gemologist Diana Jarrett is a Registered Master Valuer Appraiser and a member of the Association of Independent Jewellery Valuers (AIJV). She’s a popular speaker at conferences and trade shows. Jarrett writes for trade and consumer publications, online outlets, her blog: Color-n-Ice, and www.jewelrywebsitedesigners.com. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit her website at www.dianajarrett.com, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter (Loupey).