< Trends >
The gorgeous green precious gem, emerald, has always found its place of importance in the crowns of royalties, and prescriptions of astrology gurus. But now, it is seeing a revival in interest by being included in collections of designers and jewellery brands too, says Surekha Kadapa-Bose
There seems to be a resurrection of the green precious gem, the emerald. Though it was discovered way back in 4000 BC, and it is said that Cleopatra admired the gem so much that she even owned an emerald mine, the gemstone had, for some reason, lost its sheen in the Indian world of fashion. But since a couple of years, it seems to have returned with such a vengeance that many designers and jewellery stores are proudly showcasing their emerald jewellery pieces.
Mira Gulati, founder of Mirari jewels, holds that there has been a sudden spurt of interest in the green gemstone. “Traditional jewellery, like the ones owned by the Marathas and the Moghuls, always used emeralds in their collections. And these were top quality gems. Even one pure emerald in a group of white diamonds or rubies completely changes the look of the piece. Today, women prefer colourful jewellery rather than just white diamonds, and so, there is a spurt in the usage of coloured gemstones.’’
Most of the royal crowns, including the one that rests on the current Queen of Britain, prominently use emeralds in their setting. It is the centrepiece in the Russian crown jewels, a favourite with the Maharajas, ever-present in the Nizam’s collections and part of several other royal masterpieces too. In fact, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan was so enamoured with the green stone that he had inscribed his collection of emeralds with sacred texts from the Quran and used them as talismans.
Besides, Indians largely believe in astrology and according to this science, an emerald has several physical and health benefits. In fact, ancient Egyptians buried mummies with an emerald hung around their necks in the hope of providing eternal youth to the dead. The emerald is also associated with love, fidelity, inspiration, wisdom, harmony and growth — attributes that we all aspire to receive.
“Many of my clients ask me to set a jewellery piece using only a large emerald as recommended by their astrologer,’’ informs Gulati. Aristotle wrote: Owning an emerald could help the wearer with victory in trials, settling litigation and even restore poor eyesight. Maybe that’s why, we wonder, Roman Emperor Nero used to view gladiator fights through a large and transparent emerald.
But what is making this gorgeous gem go up on our popularity charts is its relative cost. According to Delhi-based designer Dolly Oberoi, if a 40ct emerald may come at a price of around `4.4 lakh the same-sized diamond with a similar cut and clarity may cost anything between `27 lakh and `55 lakh.
“So a ‘dollop’ of an emerald in a diamondstudded piece not only enhances the look of the piece but also increase the size, and helps satisfy Indian women’s love for large pieces,’’ says Oberoi. Adds Gursimran Singh Chadha of Jagat Jewels, “Emeralds are fascinating gemstones as the intensity of emeralds makes the jewellery pieces look more captivating. It adds finesse to a jewellery piece.’’
This green gem can be used in any style — traditional, contemporary or simple as a single stone. It can be used as part of a maang tika, earrings, finger-rings, bangles, cuffs, necklaces, collars, chokers and just about any piece of jewellery.
Though every designer is using emeralds, they also warn us of fakes. Since emerald has regained its status, there seems to be increasing number of fakes. There are manmade emeralds, laserenhanced emeralds and also the so-called emeralds from Russia — a virtual glass bauble which appears as good as an emerald. How do you guard yourself against this kind of deception?
Oberoi adds, “One can always go for a quality check from gem testing labs like GIA or Gubelin Gem Lab. That helps a lot.’’
Chadha advises, “Emeralds are one of the most beautiful and valuable gemstones and so, always buy them from a reputed showroom. While diamonds generously scintillate their fire in sizes below 1ct, you should go for larger dimensions when acquiring an emerald. Do ask the shopkeeper where are they sourcing them from, and price plays an important part here. Emeralds are expensive. So if someone is giving it to you in less money they are probably selling you a piece of glass. Also, you should always take a surety check before buying emerald jewellery.”
Maybe, this is the right time to go green, in ways more than one, isn’t it?