It’s impossible to miss the epic emeralds on display at Wixon Jewelers, with each gemstone seemingly more vivid and brilliant than the last. Shamrock green Zambian emerald earrings glow in a halo of glittery diamonds. A striking vintage seven-carat ring, meanwhile, evokes misty Colombian rainforests.
When I ask expert gemologist and store owner Hope Wixon why emeralds have such a seemingly emotional appeal, she confirms my experience: “There are no two emeralds that look exactly alike or that feel the same to every eye,” she explains. “When I think of emeralds, I think of spring. Natural emeralds feature tiny inclusions called jardins, reminiscent of little mossy specks of soil from a garden. Everything about the gem symbolizes life, growth and resurgence.”
These captivating green stones have a truly timeless appeal. The first known emerald mines in Egypt — dating back to at least 330 BC — inspired Cleopatra’s famous obsession. In fact, both the ancient Egyptians and Romans believed that simply looking at emeralds was restorative, so much so that Rome’s Pliny the Elder wrote that there was “no better method of restoring eyes than looking at the emerald, its soft green color comforting and removing their weariness.”
When Spanish conquistadors landed in Colombia in the 16th century, they too were enchanted by the particular vibrance of the pleochroic stones, which display different colors when observed from different angles. Ever since, royalty and celebrities alike have gravitated toward the gem, perhaps most famously on display in Dame Elizabeth Taylor’s spectacular collection. When she married Richard Burton in 1964, she paired a yellow chiffon dress with a dazzling 18-carat Colombian emerald, which would later set the world auction record for an emerald when it sold for $6,578,500 in 2011.
Today, the price of rare emeralds is starting to soar, making them particularly desirable to collectors. Wixon notes that because emeralds are delicate and require a specialist’s touch to maximize their brilliance, working with an expert gemologist is crucial to ensure you achieve lasting value with your investment.
“When it comes to wearing emeralds, strive for as big and luscious of a center stone as possible,” she advises. “Most importantly, ask yourself if the gem speaks to you. Color is linked to emotion. Special colored gemstones like emeralds become instant family heirlooms. Stepping up the quality and size of your gem is a decision you’ll never regret. These glowing green beauties are sure to be loved for generations to come.”