By Yaĝé Enigmus
Emeralds have been a popular choice for custom gemstone rings since the time that they were first used as a gemstone by human beings. These rings were highly sought after by the powerful and wealthy, who associated the gems with affluence and power. In recent history, several emerald rings have captured the world’s attention and shocked onlookers with their splendour. These great emerald rings of the world display the stone’s beauty with grace and a refined elegance that embodies the richness of emerald.
Among the most famous and striking of bespoke emerald rings is the Chalk Emerald ring. The Chalk Emerald is considered to be one of the finest emeralds in the world and has an intriguing past. This emerald is said to have made its way from Colombia to India sometime during the 17th or 18th centuries. Eventually the emerald arrived at the princely state of Baroda, where it was set into a necklace belonging to the Maharani; at this point the stone was said to have weighed 38.40 carats. Sometime during the 20th century the gem was acquired by Harry Winston, Inc. The jeweller recut the stone to its current weight and prong set the emerald in an awe-inspiring platinum and gold ring featuring an unconventional array of 60 pear-shaped diamonds totalling approximately 15 carats in weight set pointed towards the finger; the emerald itself is currently a massive 37.82 carat Colombian emerald of top quality colour and ideal clarity. The custom ring eventually came into the possession of the Chalk family and at the same time took on their name. The family donated the ring to the Smithsonian Institution in 1972, and it has remained there as an exemplary display of a top quality emerald and the exquisite potential of emerald rings.
An emerald ring of great significance holds the fabled Maximilian Emerald. The 21.04 carat Colombian emerald is a magnificent stone with a long history. The emerald was named after Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph, its first owner. Maximilian was an Austrian archduke who was crowned Emperor of Mexico in 1864 during a period of European rule, and was subsequently executed during an uprising three years later. The priceless emerald eventually came into the possession of American Marjorie Merriweather Post, the heiress to the Post cereal empire, in 1928. Whilst in Post’s collection, the gem was set into a breathtaking platinum ring crafted by Cartier in the year 1949 featuring six baguette shaped diamonds and two tapered baguette diamonds flanking the Maximilian Emerald, with an additional 18 small baguette shaped diamond accents spread across underside of the setting. Post had a habit of making substantial donations to the Smithsonian Institution, and donated the Maximilian Emerald ring to the museum in 1964 where it has been on display ever since. With its large size, ideal colour, and high clarity, the Maximilian Emerald is among the most beautiful emeralds on the planet. A masterful work of art, the Maximilian Emerald ring showcases the universal radiance of emeralds and the timeless allure of emerald rings.
One of the most famous emerald rings to take the world stage is the Rockefeller Emerald ring. The Rockefeller Emerald is a world class 18.04 carat Colombian stone which displays nearly perfect colour and clarity, with no enhancement of any kind. The Emerald was originally owned by heir to the Rockefeller fortune, John D. Rockefeller, who purchased the immaculate gem in 1930 as a gift for his wife, Abby Aldrich. Aldrich wore the stone in a brooch that was crafted by Van Cleef & Arpels until her death in 1948, when the Emerald was given to her son, David Rockefeller. David then commissioned friend and jeweller, Raymond Yard, to craft the ring in which the stone currently sits. The Rockefeller Emerald ring features a beautiful platinum prong setting flanked by four baguette-shaped diamonds. The custom ring remained in the Rockefeller family until it was sold on June 20th, 2017 as part of the Magnificent Jewels auction held by Christie’s New York for $5.5 million, setting a new carat record for most expensive emerald at $305,000 per carat, a title previously held by the famous Bulgari emerald jewelry of Elizabeth Taylor at $280,000 per carat. The Rockefeller Emerald ring holds one of the finest emeralds known to humankind and will always remain one of the world’s greatest treasures.
The Rockefeller Emerald ring. Image: CNBC
Learn about other great emerald rings of the world in the second part of this series. Read more: Great Emerald Rings of the World, Part 2
Here are more of our favourite emerald rings from the Skyjems catalog:
© Yaĝé Enigmus a.k.a. Kevin Back