Emeralds are the most gorgeous green gem to ever grace anyone’s hands, and they also happen to be the May birthstone. So wearing emeralds may interest a lot of people, maybe even you, and you may be wondering if these gems are okay for everyday wear. Do emeralds break easily ? What’s the best and safest setting for an emerald ? Can you fix a broken emerald ? Is it better to get a lab-grown or natural emerald, from a security standpoint ? All this and more coming right up !
Do emeralds break easily ?
Yes, emeralds can break quite easily because they are usually highly included and those inclusions are weak point in the emerald. Sometimes those inclusions reach the surface, in which case the emerald becomes more fragile. A well-placed hit can shatter an emerald, especially if it’s in the right spot. It can even shatter a diamond !
This does not mean all emeralds should be put in a glass case and simply admired. But it does mean emeralds should be worn with extra, extra care and perhaps not every day.
Do morganite and aquamarine break easily ?
Morganite and aquamarine are also a type of beryl, like emerald, but they have very few to no inclusions. This gives them far greater internal stability and makes then harder to break. They will still scratch or chip if hit with something harder than them (such as a sapphire), but they won’t break as easily as an emerald.
Can emeralds be worn every day ?
We do not recommend wearing emeralds every day since these gems may degrade faster than others. Emeralds do score an 8 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale but they are porous, brittle gems and this makes them quite fragile. So an emerald ring worn every day might not survive for as long as a green moissanite ring, for example.
Emeralds are best worn in necklaces and earrings. That kind of jewelry does not get hit or scratched very easily so you have a higher chance of the emeralds surviving untouched for decades.
If you’re looking at the possibility of an emerald engagement ring, consider not wearing it every day. Activities like cleaning, cooking, showering, sleeping, gardening and such should be done without jewelry or with a gemstone that can take a lot of hits (like a diamond or moissanite).
Are emeralds good for engagement rings ?
Emeralds are great as engagement ring stones as long as you wear them only on occasion, or have a very low-impact lifestyle. Emeralds are not the safest for daily wear and the risk of them breaking is a bit much. And since engagement rings are very sentimental pieces we imagine seeing yours fractured would be very sad.
If you are someone who likes to keep things simple and only wear big jewelry every now and then, an emerald e-ring would be fine and most likely survive for decades. After all, if you also have a wedding band you can simply wear that in your day to day life and have the e-ring on for special occasions.
Do emeralds sparkle ?
Emeralds do not sparkle, not like a diamond would. They are usually very included and even the highest clarity emerald will still only throw a few flashes of very light green. These gems are more appreciated for their color, rather than their sparkle.
The best cuts to emphasize an emerald’s beautiful color is an emerald cut or an Asscher cut, since these are step cuts and they concentrate the color in your gemstone.
Natural vs lab-grown emeralds for jewelry
There are natural and lab-grown emeralds out there, just as there are natural and lab-grown diamonds. But while diamonds are basically the same, regardless of how they came to be, emeralds are not. Oh they are still both beryl, and have the exact same chemical composition. But the lab-grown emeralds are always, always gong to be the ‘perfect’ version of a natural diamond.
So let’s discuss hardness and inclusions. If a heavily included natural emerald is more fragile, wouldn’t an eye-clean natural emerald be tougher and harder to break ? Yes it would. But those emeralds are insanely expensive and very few people can afford them.
So lab emeralds come to the rescue. These emeralds are grown in controlled environments, and come out eye-clean. Their color is also significantly improved, partly due to no inclusions and partly due to added chromium (which is what turns emeralds green in the first place).
Now, there are people who absolutely love the color of a natural emerald and the way those inclusions look in an emerald, and they are right to do so. Each and every natural emerald is beautiful in its own way, and it’s the inclusions that make them unique. We consider lab emeralds to be just safer than natural ones, as in less prone breaking or cracking all the way through.
What are the best, safest settings for emeralds ?
The safest setting for an emerald is the bezel setting. This setting has a metal band that goes all around the emerald’s girdle, like a sort of belt, and holds onto the gem. Most of the time a bezel setting reaches all the way down to the ring shank, forming a tube. This adds protection to the gemstone so its weaker points like the girdle or culet are completely protected.
Pair this with a low setting, or a setting that features shoulders going from the setting to the shank, and you’ve got a much safer ring for an emerald. Bezel settings work great with a halo around them, and the bezel itself can be milgrain so don’t be worried it may be too plain.
If you’d rather go for a prong setting, make sure you have as many prongs as possible, and they reach a bit onto the emerald’s crown. Stay away from shapes like pear, marquise, princess because they have very sharp points, and make sure they don’t have a thin girdle. Or, if you insist on those shapes make sure they have a halo around them, so if you ever bump your hand on something the halo takes most of the damage.
For safety we recommend you get a step-cut like Asscher, emerald cut, or baguette since they work with the emerald’s natural growth style and have far fewer weak points.
Can an emerald be repaired ?
An emerald can be repolished if there are a few surface scratches, but it cannot be put back together if it has been broken. If the emerald isn’t completely broken and is only fissured it may be filled with resin or oiled, which is a treatment that is very common for these gems. You should check your own emerald’s certificate to see whether it has such a treatment before purchasing.
The downside to an emerald that is oiled or filled is that it’s still fragile, even if it’s no longer noticeable with the naked eye. They do look better and their clarity is improved, but neither the resin nor the oils are a permanent treatment and have to be reapplied every few years.
If your emerald does break into separate pieces, the best you can do is have those pieces polished and set into a whole new ring, like a cluster ring.
I’m the main author for jewelrymaterialguide.com. I started this site after we did tons of research before our wedding and noticed that there is information about rings, jewelry, and so on that is really hard to find on the internet.