This article is part of our Birthstone Rings series, where we share the beautiful and varied ways our customers have featured birthstones in their rings.
May birthdays are honored with the classic, vibrant green of emerald. It's a classic, beautiful gem that's loved by many. It was popular in the Victorian age when Queen Victoria wore an emerald (snake!) engagement ring. It was just as popular when JFK proposed to Jackie Kennedy with an emerald ring. And it remains popular with famous names like Halle Berry Beyonce wearing emerald rings today.
There are some important considerations for using emerald as a center stone. Most importantly, we give natural emerald a good to delicate wearability rating because of the fractures and inclusions that natural emeralds often carry. These can make emeralds quite beautiful, but they also put the gem at higher risk of damage or wear. One simple alternative for those concerned about wear and tear but still interested in using the May birthstone: lab-created emeralds. Man-made emerald has the same mineral structure as natural emerald, but without the imperfections that make the natural stones risky for daily wear. We'll share a few examples below to help inspire you!
Natural emeralds can be found in various shades of green, from yellow-tinged grassy green shades to cooler blue-green hues. And these colors are influenced by the metal color around them. For example, the gold setting for this vintage-inspired ring brings out the warm hues of the oval emerald. And it's a perfect reminder of why yellow gold and emerald are such a classic color pairing.
This next one is a little bit modern in its delicate styling and clean, tapered lines. And it's a little bit vintage, with its use of gold, the emerald center stone, and the beautiful milgrain and scroll and leaf detailing on the band and around the setting. Just a perfectly balanced design, if we do say so ourselves.
This is a tale of two designs — a sweetly understated engagement ring design and a glam, eye-catcher of an enhancer band design. The emerald we picked out with this customer has a warm green tone with the kind of inclusion pattern that's often referred to as jardin. The engagement ring on its own has simple side-clusters of diamonds, but when it slots into the surrounding wedding bands, the combined effect creates a stunning ballerina halo around the center emerald.
And here's a ring with a beautiful pear cut emerald in a delicate setting with a wonderful bit of detail. In the customer's words: "she loves peacock feathers and has incorporated them into her company logo. It symbolizes immortality and protects those wearing them. Something like that would really set her ring apart from others and make it more personal." That's just the sort of personal touch we love, so that's what you can see curving down toward the base of the pear, creating a sort of split shank with a cluster of diamonds nestled in the opening!
For those on a tight budget or just worried about the durability risk of natural emerald, the man-made option is an excellent alternative. This first one shows the perfect clarity a lab-created emerald offers. Of course, there are two sides to that — these emeralds will be more durable without inclusions, but those who love the character of a natural emerald's jardin may miss it here. The setting we designed came straight from our customer's notes into our artist's sketches: an east-west setting for an emerald cut emerald, a graduated set of side diamonds tapering to the band. And we completed the bridal set with a delicate, sparkly diamond band.
This last look was inspired by a feature the customer liked: the shapes along the band framing diamonds of varying sizes to create a vintage-inspired ornamentation. We added a personal detail by incorporating a mountain range that she'll see under the ring's setting when she looks from the side. They'd met while at a camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, so it's a reference to the start of their journey as a couple.