Join us for our weekly BAJ:Insight on the latest industry trends by Rachael Taylor, a freelance journalist who writes about jewellery for a number of titles, including The Financial Times, The Jewellery Editor and Retail Jeweller. In her 10 years reporting on the industry, she has travelled the globe to visit key industry fairs, descended a Fairtrade gold mine on top of a Peruvian mountain, toured silver jewellery factories in Thailand, and regularly has access to the most sparkling jewels and people in the business.
In June this year, one of the finest emeralds ever to make it to auction – if Christies’ sales pitch is to be believed – was sold by the auctioneer’s New York outpost for US$5.51 million (that’s more than four million of our British pounds). As well as being as a beautiful, unblemished example of a Colombian emerald, it also happened to be a rather famous gemstone, once owned by the Rockefeller family of American tycoons.
A sweep of elegant pear-shaped emeralds run the length of this three-finger Magnipheasant ring by Stephen Webster.
Brooding Brazilian emeralds are partly tension set in this rose gold Caterpillar ring by Ming Lampson.
Peer through a clear emerald to discover hidden diamonds beneath in this optical illusion Giardini Segreti ring by Pasquale Bruni.
The Rockefeller emerald was bought by American jewellery brand Harry Winston. Before the bids started flying in, Harry Winston chief executive Nayla Hayek issued a demand to her staff to “bring this magnificent gem home at any price”.
The magnificent sale price of $305,000 per carat made the Rockefeller emerald the most expensive emerald ever sold at auction, knocking a suite of Bulgari emerald jewels once owned by Elizabeth Taylor from the top spot (it achieved $280,000 per carat).
A lively, ethically sourced Muzo emerald from Colombia takes centre stage in this yellow gold and diamond ring by Kat Florence.
Fronds of ethically sourced Gemfields Zambian emeralds complement white Fairmined gold in these earrings from Chopard’s Green Carpet collection.
Hannah Martin sets emeralds in rhodium-blackened settings alongside black diamonds and dark-blue sapphires in this Solaris Sovereign ring.
Nikos Koulis creates a striking contrast by setting an emerald within a black enamel bezel on this diamond choker with long silk lariats.
What all this cash flying around means, according to Christies, is that coloured gemstones in general – and rare, fine examples of Colombian emeralds in particular – are in demand. As Harry Winston’s craftsmen mull over what to make with the Rockefeller emerald, here are 10 brilliant examples of what other designers are creating with this in-demand green gemstone.
In a battle of light and dark, flashes of green emeralds add warmth to these diamond and black gold earrings by Sutra.
Beautiful pear-shaped emeralds are turned on their heads and pinched in organically flowing, diamond-accented yellow gold Sprout earrings by Fernando Jorge.
Marquise-cut emeralds stack on top of one another to create an alternative eternity band in Niquesa’s Amore collection.