Emerald: The Definitive Guide to the World’s Most Valuable Precious Gemstone


Luxurytopping reviews the history of Emeralds.  Price £75.00

Authors Joanna Hardy, Hettie Jadah, Jonathan Self. Introduction by Franca Sozzani Editor of Vogue Italia.

Emerald is a lavishly illustrated, definitive guide to the world’s most valuable precious gemstone. It is packed with hundreds of examples of fabulous emerald jewellery and tells the story of this fascinating, enduring and magnificent gem. A gem that is twenty times more rare than diamond and which was first discovered over five millennia ago.

Franca Sozzani, editor of Vogue Italia, opens with an introduction on emerald jewellery and women written from a personal perspective. Emerald is then divided into three sections beginning with a searching and historical piece by Hettie Judah on the power, allure and status conveyed by gemstones, including stunning photography by Bert Stern, Horst P. Horst and from the archives of the great jewellery houses.

The second section is a showcase of the finest emerald jewelry, ancient and modern, ever created. The selection of over 200 outstanding pieces – many of which have never been seen by the public before – has been made by jewelry and gemstone expert, Joanna Hardy who explores royal emeralds and the royal beauties, from Cleopatra to Empress Josephine, for whom they meant so much, as well as the extraordinary commissions by grand Maharajas of the nineteenth century and heiresses of the twentieth. Historic creations up to 5,500 years old are seen alongside pieces from Cartier, Boucheron and Bulgari and contemporary designers. One of the most outstanding items is the watch set into an Emerald case and dates back to the reign of Elizabethan I. This magnificent jewel can be seen at the exhibition of the Cheapside Hoard at the Museum of London.

In the third and final section, author and globetrotter Jonathan Self uncovers the secrets of the emerald trade. In the process he visits Cleopatra’s lost emerald mines in the Sahara Desert and the largest emerald mine of all time in Zambia. He interviews gem hunters and jewellers, investigates legends and myths and traces the stone’s long and frequently romantic history. The section is beautifully illustrated with specially commissioned photography by Errol Rainey.


Joanna Hardy is an independent gemmologist and jewelry specialist, formerly of Debeers, Philips and Sothebys. She lectures widely and writes for many international magazines and newspapers, and features on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow. Hettie Judah is a British author who has written extensively about fashion, art and design in various international publications. Jonathan Self has been passionate about emeralds and their enigma for more than thirty years. He has written for The Times, Country Life and Vanity Fair, and is the author of over a dozen books. Franca Sozzani is editor of Vogue Italia.