With the unstoppable rise of the Paraiba tourmaline and the ongoing popularity of turquoise and lapis lazuli, blue gemstones are still very much in fashion. But at Baselworld last month, another strong colour trend was making itself felt: green.
When the global authority on colour, Pantone, announced Greenery as its Color of the Year for 2017 back in December, its prediction was spot on. Judging by the gems we saw at the biggest watch and jewellery show in the world, green is back in a big way – emeralds, of course, but also chrysoprase, jade and that groovy 70s classic malachite.
When we post images of green jewels on our Instagram channel, they are consistently the most popular. Why are we so drawn to green? Moss green, olive green, sea green, fern green, jungle green, spring green, lime green – so many colours on the green spectrum are named after the natural world around us. With the arrival of spring, we welcome the re-emergence of greenery in our gardens. Green represents youth, vitality and growth.
Nature is a major driving force behind the designs of Lebanese jeweller Christina Debs, and green gems are among her favourites to work with. “Since I started creating my jewellery, I have introduced a large variety of green gemstones, from chrysoprase to green agate, amazonite, aventurine, jade, sphene, emerald and tsavorite,” says Debs. “Green is my best-selling colour. This is a trend not only in jewellery but also in fashion and interior design. We are seeing a return to nature.”
Two new additions to her Candy Pop collection place opaque orbs of apple-green chrysoprase in crescent moons set with diamonds. “Chrysoprase is one of my favourite gems,” she continues. “It is such an incredible stone – it has the power to enhance the beauty of any woman. Its lively colour is so energetic that it arouses joy.” I also spotted chrysoprase – a huge oval cabochon in an unusual mint shade – at Brazilian designer Carla Amorim, whose new Cerrado collection was inspired by the dry, desert-like region of her home country.
Emeralds are always a familiar sight at Baselworld. With many of the big players in the jewellery industry attending the show, we spotted top-quality gems in the windows at Graff, Bayco and de GRISOGONO. None were as arresting as the huge green emeralds spied at Jacob & Co, set into two cuffs called, collectively, the Mystery of Muzo, below. It took almost two years to source the exceptionally rare duo, a natural pear-cut 74.33-carat and 70.57-carat vivid green Colombian Muzo emerald, which are the same vivid green hue.
I was drawn to the 11-carat square emerald-cut gem in the high jewellery ring by Sutra, top. Surrounded by a halo of diamond petals, the certified Colombian emerald gave off a glorious green glow under the spotlights.
At the (much) more affordable end of the scale are these rings by Djula, the hip, young brand from Paris whose impressive expansion plans this year include two new stores in the US. These easy-to-wear rings, above, mix emeralds with diamonds, offering a more casual way to wear this highly-prized gemstone.
Things got really interesting when we arrived at Chopard. Many of the Swiss jeweller’s launches for the year ahead are targeted at Millennials, with style, wearability and originality trumping big, and expensive, gemstones.
For the first time that I can recall, Chopard has used malachite in its jewellery, above, the stripy green mineral that fell out of favour when the hippy generation grew up and started power dressing – bringing a cool new look to the classic Happy Heart collection.
More malachite was to be found at Roberto Coin, where the Italian jeweller has been experimenting with less-traditional gems in its cocktail ring collection, above, and also at Garaude. The intense colour and distinctive banding of malachite contrasts beautifully with the polished rose gold in the French jeweller’s voluptuous Byzance ring.
An award-winning Italian jeweller best known for his textured goldwork, Marco Bicego has a passion for unusual gems, which he showcases in his colourful Unico collection. He is drawn to stones that other jewellers might overlook, and it is the imperfections that give these jewels their vibrant personality. Alongside polished agate, chosen for its tiger-like patterning, were juicy slices of jade the colour of kiwi fruit with unusual inclusions.
Finally, the spring-like gem tsavorite made an appearance at German jeweller Stenzhorn. More commonly used as small accent stones, tsavorites are much rarer than emeralds, which is why my heart skipped a beat when I saw this ring, below.
But although it looks like one, this is not actually a 2-carat tsavorite. By invisible setting nine baguette-cut tsavorites next to one another, with no metal visible in between, Stenzhorn has created the illusion of a much bigger emerald-cut stone. “We wanted to recreate the look of those kind of stones that are rare to find in nature in that size,” says Stenzhorn designer Anna Strarosti. And to bring us neatly back to where we started, the collection has a most appropriate name: Pantone.