May Birthstone: Emerald

May Birthstone: Emerald 

May is Emerald birthstone month so in this post we’re going to be looking at a few of the features of emerald to help you decide how to choose the best green emerald gemstones to buy, how to style the gemstones, what emerald birthstone jewellery and gifts might be your best choice. All of this article is focussed on emerald jewellery and accessories available in the UK.

Here are the sections we’ll cover. You can click on the titles to be taken directly to that section:

Emerald Birthstone

Emerald Birthstone Jewellery

Styling Emerald Jewellery

Mens Accessories and Mens Emerald Jewellery

Emerald Cufflinks

Emerald Earrings

Alternatives to Emerald Jewellery

Emerald Birthstone

An emerald birthstone necklace

An emerald birthstone necklace

May is emerald birthstone month. Emerald is a type of beryl (another well known beryl is aquamarine, and you might also have heard of morganite too). However emeralds are always green. The type of green varies from a pale green to a deep green. The green colour of emerald is mostly because of the chromium present in the gem. Generally more expensive emeralds have more intense green colouring and fewer inclusions.

Emerald Birthstone Jewellery

Emerald birthstone jewellery is not very common nowadays compared to other gemstones like citrine and aquamarine. Emeralds are quite expensive, and the vivid colour means it is a bit ‘marmite’. Furthermore, emerald birthstone jewellery is often classic styled rather than modern. 

Emeralds can be very included. This means the stones are less clear, due to other objects in them. Although as with salt and pepper diamonds, some of the inclusions can be desirable. However clearer stones with good colour are always more valuable. Created emeralds such as cubic zirconia usually have excellent clarity and sparkle, and are a good substitute for natural emeralds if you are concerned about the conditions of miners, environmental mining conditions, or don’t have £1000+ to spend on a good looking emerald gemstone.

If you are looking for modern style emerald birthstone jewellery then you might consider some green earrings or an emerald green statement necklace which are made with created emeralds. Simple styles can often make more of a feature of the gemstone, and are often more well received as gifts.

Often you will find created emerald in modern styled jewellery. Created emerald can be cubic zirconia or made with a variety of lab techniques. It is best to avoid glass, as this will not have any ‘fire’ inside the gemstone, and will scratch easily. Reputable jewellers will tell you which type of method is used for the created emerald.

Styling Emerald Jewellery

Emerald can look excellent with most outfits if it suits your skin or hair colour. Think about the colour of the metal the emerald is set in. Silver and emerald can look a bit stark, rose gold and emerald will always look incredible if the wearer has red toned hair, and gold jewellery with emeralds tends to look formal and classical, great for a wedding, award ceremony, or dinner party.

A lot of emerald jewellery is very traditionally styled.

A lot of emerald jewellery is very traditionally styled.

Picking out green colours in your shoes, dress, or jumper can make emerald jewellery an excellent style match. Thinking about pairing jewellery with favourite items from an existing wardrobe is worth remembering if you are stuck for a present and are thinking about an emerald birthstone gift.

Do watch for style clashes. Because most emerald jewellery is traditional style, the emerald birthstone gifts rung the risk of looking a bit old fashioned. This style might work if you can pull off a retro antique style, in which case you could rock your emerald birthstone jewellery with confidence, like a wealthy heiress from Downton Abbey. If you are stuck with a classical style heirloom emerald necklace, or a necklace was given to you by a loved one who expects to see it at least once a year, you can mix it into your own more modern style if you wear it in an open shirt fashion. This way the ornate classical styling of the jewellery will be surrounded by skin and framed by a simple relaxed open shirt, which will give you more flexibility with your jacket, shoes, trousers, skirt etc. Just how ‘open’ you choose for the open shirt fashion is up to you.

Mens Accessories and Mens Emerald Jewellery

When shopping or searching for gifts it is better to think about and search for ‘mens accessories’ because mens emerald jewellery is not as common. And though mens accessories may be jewelled with a range of gemstones, specific mens emerald jewellery options are often not very broad. 

The main difference between mens accessories and jewellery is that if you look closely, you are more likely to find that the accessories do not have the same volume of precious metal, the finishing may not be of a fine jewellery standard, and they may include parts (such as woven leather) which may deteriorate more quickly over time. Unfortunately there are a lot of low quality mens accessories. Recently these have appeared as cheaply made leather and beaded bracelets which have flooded the market after gaining popularity on Instagram. A simple search on Alibaba will show the true cost of these 

To put it into perspective; a piece of jewellery should last for decades, accessories may only last for a year or two at most.

The jewellery options available to men are mostly limited to cufflinks and rings. Mens emerald necklaces are rare, as are emerald bracelets.

When looking for a jewellery gift for men, emerald cufflinks are a good choice, and can be styled effectively with cufflink shirts which have a green stripe, or are a contrasting colour to emerald – think about your colour wheel – shirts with some reds, purples or vivid pink in the pattern will look good. Blue/ green cufflink shirts such as a pastel duck egg shell colour can also work with emerald cufflinks. 

When choosing a metal for emerald cufflinks rose gold is perfect. The orangey-pink metal contrasts with the bright green and makes a wonderful statement. It matches a wide range of cufflink shirts, suits, jackets and ties. Rose gold cufflinks with emerald look good on mens and womens double cuff shirts; just be sure to accessorise with other suitable colours and tones.

Silver emerald cufflinks are bright and shining. The green gemstone will stand out more vividly and appear to sparkle more because of the silver cufflink. Your cufflink shirt choice should take this style into account. Consider pairing with a white double cuff shirt to decrease the contrast and allow the cufflink to blend with your outfit, or wear with a pale linen jacket in the summer. 

Created emerald is often used in emerald cufflinks because as mentioned earlier, it has far better qualities at affordable price points. Alternatively emerald cufflinks could have a very small piece of natural emerald, but that may look unbalanced or get lost in the size of the jewellery piece. 

Rose gold cufflink with created emerald

Rose gold cufflink with created emerald

Emerald Earrings

Emeralds are a great choice for earrings. But the proximity to the hair might mean that the emeralds do not suit you. This is a particular problem with green stud earrings, drop earrings suffer less because they have more skin around them. 

If you have your heart set on emerald earrings, but worry about them not suiting you, then definitely go for drop earrings. To be safe you can try any green drop earrings such as malachite or created emerald before splashing out on the real thing.

Alternatives to Emerald Jewellery

Of course emerald is a good choice if you are looking for a birthstone or high-priced gift for a jewellery but if you are looking for something using the same colours, there are plenty of other options. Some options such as malachite are even May birthstones, so you can still give a birthstone gift without giving a genuine emerald.

Created emeralds are usually much less included than natural emeralds.

Created emeralds are usually much less included than natural emeralds.

Created Emerald

Created emerald is a very good alternative to the natural gemstone. There are many types of created emerald such as emerald cubic zirconia, which has a good sparkle and is a hard stone. The stone hardness is important as it means the gemstone is less likely to crack or chip. Harder gemstones are also more likely to have more sparkle.

Malachite

Other alternatives in the same green colour spectrum as emerald include malachite. This is an opaque rock which is a green stone with very dark green veins. Usually malachite jewellery uses polished domes shapes of malachite called ‘cabochons’. This is because malachite is a relatively soft stone for jewellery, so hard edges such as facets typically seen on emeralds or diamonds will chip easily.

Malachite makes a great low-key natural alternative to emerald, and is also a May birthstone.