Emeralds, the magical building blocks of Oz’s great city, are 20 times rarer than diamonds, having only been found in fewer than 20 countries. Here, the Baroda Necklace, completed in 1950 by Van Cleef & Arpels.

Emerald: Twenty One Centuries of Jeweled Opulence and Power, published by Thames and Hudson, features over 270 photographs of stunning emerald jewelry. Lamp clip, 1929 by Van Cleef & Arpels. Platinum, ruby, emeralds, moonstone, diamonds.

The emeralds in this necklace are reputed to have been a gift from Catherine the Great to the second Earl of Buckinghamshire during his embassy to St. Petersburg from 1762-1765. 12 step-cut emeralds alternate with 14 pear-shaped emeralds and meet at an octagonal domed emerald within a border of diamonds.

This emerald, diamond and enamel rosary was once owned by Queen Maria Antoinette of Saxony (1805-1877). It's composed of 70 emerald beads, spaced by gold rondells set with table-cut diamonds, suspending a pendant set with five double-cabochon emeralds and glittering table-cut diamonds.

This watch dates from 1600 from the Cheapside Hoard, set in a single large hexagonal Colombian emerald crystal. “It takes poise and power to compete for attention with the fiery geometry of gemstones,” Judah writes.

A seam of raw emerald at Kagem, the world's largest emerald mine in Zambia.

Raw emeralds in the hands of market traders in Colombia.

A ring made from cabochon emerald of 9.75 carats, enamel and gold, set by jewelry designer Elizabeth Gage.

A ring made from cabochon emerald of 9.75 carats, enamel and gold, set by jewelry designer Elizabeth Gage.

This diamond and emerald snake necklace, named "Eternity," is set with two emeralds that weigh more than 200 carats each.

The engagement ring of The Duchess of Windsor.

A "Tutti fruitti" bracelet set with carved rubies, sapphires and emeralds with diamond accents, by Cartier New York, circa 1928. Jacques Cartier brought these exquisite gems back from his many buying trips to India.

The Timken necklace, made of emerald, sapphire, and diamonds, designed by Cartier, Paris in 1925. It belonged to the fabulously wealthy Lilian Timken, who lived with her husband, William Timken, the founder of the Timken roller-bearing company, in a 24-room apartment on New York City's Fifth Avenue. It includes three rare Mughal emeralds carved with floral designs.

Co.Design

A Glittering Visual History Of Emeralds

These gemstones are 20 times rarer than diamonds, so if you like it, then you should've put an emerald ring on it.

Emeralds, the magical building blocks of Oz’s great city, are 20 times rarer than diamonds, having only been found in fewer than 20 countries. Jewelry designers both ancient and modern have created some of the most stunning bling in history with these envy-green gemstones.

Now, hundreds of these glittering designs are gathered in one book: Emerald: Twenty One Centuries of Jeweled Opulence and Power, published by Thames and Hudson. Over 270 pages feature photographs of emerald jewelry worn by the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Angelina Jolie, and Princess Diana. One 5,500-year-old creation is depicted in all its green glory, alongside works by modern jewelers like Cartier, Boucheron, Bulgari, and Harry Winston.

The stories surrounding this jewel are as rich as those who wear it. “It takes poise and power to compete for attention with the fiery geometry of gemstones,” British fashion author Hettie Judah writes in the book's introduction. “The women whose histories run through Emerald all exude power--be it political, sexual, financial, or social. Girls can wear pearls, but it takes a woman to wear serious emeralds.”

From Queen Soraya’s emerald tiara to the Catherine the Great Brooch to Anita Delgado’s crescent-shaped emerald necklace (originally designed to adorn a Maharajah’s prized elephant), emerald jewelry seems to possess a mystical ability to canonize its wearers.

Vanity Fairwriter Jonathan Self tells of his visit to the lost emerald mines of Cleopatra, who was famous for giving visiting dignitaries emeralds engraved with her likeness. In ancient Egypt, the sacred emerald represented the flooding of the Nile, fertility, immortality, and, above all, power. Self actually stumbled upon one of these mystical jewels in Cleopatra's mines. “Pliny summed up how I feel about my emerald from Cleopatra’s lost mines when he wrote that some were considered ‘beyond any price, and even beyond human estimation, so that to many men the gem suffices for the contemplation of all nature,” Self writes.

In this glittering book, the emerald proves to be a protagonist as faceted and bewitching as any human character, whether it's carved in the shape of a parrot, adorning a duchess's diadem, or set in an art-deco bracelet owned by Andy Warhol. Emerald will be published on February 11th and is available for pre-order on Amazon for $81 here.

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