September 28, 2021
4 min read

The Rockefeller emerald

The Rockefeller emerald
The Rockefeller emerald

“A treasure among treasure” – the Rockefeller Emerald definitely stands out among all famous emeralds. What’s its secret?

Let’s start from afar.

Raymond Carter Yard – one of the most renowned and influential jewelry designers of the 20th century – started his brilliant career at the age of just thirteen. He was hired as an apprentice in the Marcus & Co. jewelry firm and moved to Manhattan from his small hometown. 

Discovering and gradually immersing himself deeper and deeper into the world of jewelry and precious stones, Raymond steadily climbed the career ladder and soon established close relationships with American social elites. One day, his diligence and talent were noticed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. The heir of America’s wealthiest family wished to cooperate with young Raymond Carter Yard. Later their collaboration led to a close friendship. 

It was exactly this relationship that significantly influenced Raymond Yard’s career. Rockefeller strongly encouraged Yard to establish his own firm – and at the age of 37 Raymond opened his first salon at 527 Fifth Avenue. Within four years, in 1926, Raymond C. Yard, Inc. had moved to Fifth Avenue. 

In 1930 John D. Rockefeller, Jr. bought a brooch for his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. The brooch, said to be by Van Cleef & Arpels, centered upon a large mesmerizing emerald. When Abby Aldrich Rockefeller passed away in 1948, Rockefeller asked Yard to disassemble the brooch. Individual emeralds from the setting were distributed among the Rockefeller children. The centre emerald, weighing an impressive 18.04 ct, was given to their youngest son – David Rockefeller. 

Shortly after David received the emerald, he commissioned Yard to turn the gem into a ring. Raymond Yard remounted the emerald into a simple and elegant setting featuring four baguette-cut diamonds that allowed the stone to take center stage.

The Rockefeller emerald
The Rockefeller Emerald at Christie’s auction

This stunning Rockefeller Emerald was later sold at Christie’s auction for more than $5.5 million. Although it has passed on to other hands – to famous jeweler Harry Winston – it still embodies the grandeur of the Rockefeller family name. 

Why is this emerald so special? 

The Rockefeller Emerald is distinguished by a truly intense color and exceptional saturation that characterizes the greatest Colombian emeralds. The American Gemological Laboratories (AGL) described this gem as an “exceptional” since it possesses “an unusual combination of size, provenance, absence of treatment and quality factors that contribute favourably to its rarity and desirability’. 

This Emerald is ranked at the top of its class for its rarity and exceptional quality. Far from a frequent find on the gemstone market! 

The Rockefeller Emerald displays all of the attributes of a natural masterpiece.

Inspired by a legend

Iconic jewels are made to inspire!

The Rockefeller Emerald ring created by Raymond Yard is a perfect example of elegance, fine taste, undoubted luxury and unsurpassed craftsmanship. The combination of a central emerald with great characteristics and a truly magnetic color and delicate colorless diamonds that emphasize the emerald’s beauty has been a win-win option for centuries. 

Find your dreamy Emerald (Colombian, like the Rockefeller one, Zambian or even Uralian) and matching White Diamonds of different shapes and sizes.

Need professional advice or wanna create a bespoke jewelry piece? Remember to use our MAD Advisor service. 

Notable colombian emeralds

Stunning Colombian Emeralds have been part of outstanding collections for centuries. Perhaps the most famous collection was that of Empress Eugenie – the wife of Napoleon III. Her collection, containing several magnificent emeralds, was sold in May 1887. More recently, in December 2011, Elizabeth Taylor’s 23.46 ct emerald Bulgari brooch commanded the attention of the public.

The Rockefeller emerald
The Elizabeth Taylor’ Emerald brooch

One of the world’s largest and most famous uncut emeralds weighing 1383.93 ct and called the Duke of Devonshire was also mined in Colombia. Today this precious gem can be found in a vault at the Natural History Museum in London. 

The Rockefeller emerald
The Duke of Devonshire Emerald

Crown of the Andes – one of the most famous jewelry pieces in the world – is encrusted with 453 iridescent Colombian emeralds. These gems weigh 1521 ct in total. 

The Rockefeller emerald
The Crown of the Andes with Emeralds

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