The Adventurine Posts A Look at ‘Emerald’ by Joanna Hardy

Eternity snake necklace made by Cartier in 1997 featured in the book Emerald. Photo: © Cartier/Cartier Archives

Books & Exhibitions

A Look at ‘Emerald’ by Joanna Hardy

It covers centuries of jeweled opulence and power

by Hilary Heard Gurley

Authors Joanna Hardy and Jonathan Self did justice to Mother Nature’s most gorgeous green stone with the spectacular book Emerald.  Next to the Mogul Mughal emerald, it is perhaps the gem’s magnum opus with everything a jewelry lover could ever ask for except perhaps a wearable sample.


Emerald by Joanna Hardy and Jonathan Self

A beautiful addition to any library, the cover is a striking verdant green silk and there are superb photographs and illustrations throughout the comprehensive publication.  The text reviews the stone’s history in great detail with captivating stories told in a succinct exhilarating style.  The range of information goes from from the tragic measures taken by the Spanish conquistadors to take control of Colombian mines to the sacred beliefs surrounding the gem, the extraordinary Cheapside Hoard as well as the details about crown emerald jewelry, legendary Maharajahs’ collections, jewels from social swans and Hollywood queens.  A unique feature is the 24-hour guide outlining a typical working day at the Gemfields emerald mine in Zambia.  The storyline is brought up to the present with an impressively keen review of today’s best jewelers who are incorporating emeralds in unique ways.


A Colombian crystal set with a watch, circa 1600 from the Cheapside Hoard Photo © Museum of London

Note to gem nerds: admittedly a lengthy tome, I urge readers to begin by removing the world map that marks the trade routes and mining areas capable of producing gem-quality emeralds.  Place it in a convenient location, so you can easily make notes and attach references as you progress through the book.  You will end up with a marvelous cheat sheet for all things emerald-related.

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