Whoever nominated emerald to be the May birthstone knew exactly what they were doing. Emerald’s vibrant green color personifies renewal and regrowth, serving as a symbol of nature’s bounty in spring. This spring, more than 15 dazzling emerald jewels are among the top lots at Sotheby’s Magnificent and Fine Jewels sales in Geneva, London and New York. In fact, the premier auction house reports that emeralds at Sotheby’s are more popular today than they have been in years.
Jewelry historian Vivienne Becker explains in Sotheby’s May 2 online magazine: “The emerald is, after all, the perfect answer to a collector’s quest for individuality. It is an arch-individualist of a gemstone: Each one is endowed with its own imposing aristocratic personality, each is made dramatically different by its internal structure. It is really no wonder that the age-old lust for the stone’s hypnotic beauty has been rekindled.”
Unmounted emeralds and emerald jewels are known to have been collected as far back as 300 B.C. It is said that the emerald was Cleopatra’s favorite gemstone (and, let’s face it, she could have any jewel she wanted!).
The list of 20th-Century emerald fans includes legendary tastemakers Wallis Simpson, aka the Duchess of Windsor, and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, who both wore Colombian emerald engagement rings.
Socialites Marjorie Merriweather Post and Mrs. Walter Annenberg also collected precious emeralds, some of which they left to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
More Emerald Engagement Rings
Speaking of socialites, Town & Country, the respected chronicler of society weddings, recently declared that emerald and diamond engagement rings — so popular in the 1930s through the 1950s — are making a big comeback among millennial brides-to-be.
These lucky women and their betrothed will have several stunning examples from which to choose when Sotheby’s holds its fine jewelry sales on May 17 in Geneva, June 6 in London, and June 10 in New York City.
You can follow all the emerald auction action in real time at www.sothebys.com.