Since ancient times, emerald, green’s deepest hue, has suggested everything from prosperity and luxury to renewal and fertility. According to the Gemological Institute of America, ancient Romans considered the stone soothing to the entire being. Pliny the Elder’s “Natural History” described ancient lapidaries who restored the strength to their eyes by gazing at the gemstone. In Hindu culture, healers use emerald to align the heart chakra and let love flow freely from the core. Cleopatra was known to drape herself in emeralds, and 2,000 years later, so did Elizabeth Taylor, the woman who played her on the silver screen.
This most famous member of the beryl family also gained fame in literature and film with L. Frank Baum’s Emerald City of Oz, a shimmering symbol of beauty, commercialism and illusion that gets another tour in the new movie “Oz the Great and Powerful,” opening March 8 and starring James Franco as the Wizard.
The real-world Emerald Isle – Ireland, of course, whose kin go green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this month – takes the name from its pastoral, evergreen landscape. The country has little relative connection to the gemstone at all, considering her national stone is in fact the pea-green Connemara marble. If the moniker did indicate the geographic location of emerald mines, the likeliest winner would be the non-isle of Colombia, home of the emerald-hued Amazon and more than half of the world’s emerald excavation as Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner discovered in the 1984 flick “Romancing the Stone.”
In 2013, Pantone Color Institute, the industry standard of color classification, voiced its own ode to emerald naming it the institute’s Color of the Year. Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone’s executive director, says, “As it has throughout history, multifaceted emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today’s complex world. This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors.”
To the delight of emerald enthusiasts – and May babies who call the gem their birthstone – Pantone’s declaration has spurred a frenzy of goods in the easy-on-the-eyes shade. With pieces so stunning, it’s especially fitting that emerald is the richest shade of green, the color of envy.
1. For the topmost travel style – or an addition to any timeless home collection – hail the India-inspired Nappa Dori Classic Trunk from the Singapore-based Benares lifestyle line. A simple phone order brings you this emerald trunk featuring Old World opulence in hand-crafted metal and leather.
2. A beautiful bucket bag by Michael Kors debuted for spring in deep green with gold accents. Miranda, as she’s named, features dyed deer leather and a suede interior to glam up everyday garb.
3. Tiffany & Co. sets rich green tourmaline within a stage of 18-carat gold and diamonds for this remarkable pair of earrings.
4. From the Gräf & Lantz studio in Los Angeles comes the laptop sleeve in loden green. Produced from merino felt with a snappy leather flap, this German design protects your work gear with playful color.
5. Invite happiness to your table with this flourish of friendly foliage, the Kate Spade Gardner Street serving bowl in elegant Lenox bone china.
6. In the 19th century, the highly potent, anise-flavored liquor nicknamed “the Green Fairy” bedeviled writers and painters like Baudelaire and Van Gogh. Now from the mind of Alessandro Gualtieri – the fragrance designer for Helmut Lang, Versace and Valentino – comes this Nasomatto perfume, intended to ignite the same wicked behavior.