Famous Emeralds Throughout History
Jan 01, 2023
The emerald is one of the four precious stones that has been admired and highly valued since ancient times. Its green hue makes it a favorite for jewelers around the world.
These precious stones come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, symbolizing love, wealth, and power. From Queen Cleopatra to modern royalty, many of history's most influential people have worn emeralds to acknowledge and celebrate their importance in being part of a powerful elite.
To show you how precious these stones are, here is a list of the most famous emeralds throughout history.
The Chalk Emerald: A Majestic Gem from India's Maharani
The Chalk Emerald is considered one of the rarest high-grade emerald rings ever. Its impressive size and remarkable color and clarity set it apart as a true masterpiece of nature.
While the exact details of its discovery remain shrouded in mystery, its association with India’s Maharani of Baroda adds an element of prestige to its already impressive reputation.
The craftsmanship of Harry Winston further elevated the Chalk Emerald's allure, as it was expertly set into a breathtaking platinum, gold, and diamond ring. Today, this majestic gem graces the Gem Gallery at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
The Mogul Mughal Emerald: A Gem with Timeless Engravings
Hailing from the mines of Colombia, the Mogul Mughal Emerald weighs an impressive 217.80 carats. Carved with precision, it bears a Shi'a Muslim prayer inscribed in Arabic alongside the date 1107 AH (1695 – 1969 AD), placing it within the reign of Emperor Aurangzeb of the Mughal Empire.
The presence of a Shi'a prayer suggests that the emerald may have belonged to a courtier or officer of the empire. Today, this extraordinary gem rests within the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, enthralling visitors with its historical significance.
The Isabella Emerald: A Priceless Treasure from the Depths
The Isabella Emerald, the largest cut emerald in the world, carries a tale of Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés and the treacherous sea. Cortés offered this magnificent emerald as a bargaining chip to the Spanish royalty, which was never realized.
However, it found its way to Cortés' wife as a cherished gift. Then, in the 18th century, the Isabella Emerald got lost with other emerald-filled chests while in transit on a family ship to Spain. Fortunately, it was found floating somewhere on the seafloor after 200 years of being lost.
Queen Elizabeth II's Vladimir Tiara: A Symbol of Royal Legacy
The Vladimir Tiara, previously owned by her majesty the late Queen Elizabeth II, boasts a storied past that intertwines with the Russian Revolution and the Romanov dynasty. Commissioned by the Grand Duchess Vladimir, this exquisite tiara was hidden away during the tumultuous times, eventually finding its way to Queen Mary.
The tiara's regal elegance adds an air of intrigue, having once been unsuccessfully sought after for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's royal wedding. Its provenance and rich history continue to enhance its allure and significance within the British royal family.
The Rockefeller Emerald: A Gem of Unparalleled Brilliance
With its octagonal step-cut and mesmerizing green hue, the Rockefeller Emerald is a true marvel. Originally purchased by John D. Rockefeller Jr. for his wife, Abby Aldridge Rockefeller, this 18.04-carat gem adorned a remarkable brooch designed by Van Cleef & Arpels.
Following Abby's passing, the brooch was disassembled, and the stones were distributed among her children. David Rockefeller transformed the center stone into a magnificent ring, showcasing its unparalleled color and clarity.
The Rockefeller Emerald reached new heights in 2017 when it sold to Harry Winston, setting a record price per carat at $305,516.