First published on: https://www.frenchbedroomcompany.co.uk/blog/emerald-green-style-history
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How emerald green became our favourite jewel tone for the home
Sultry, verdant and mystical – emerald green, in all its lusciousness has been sprawling through our homes like an ever-green creeper; slowly taking root in every nook. Synonymous with cool elegance, emerald green has been a calming influence on our interiors for the past 18 months, soaring in popularity thanks to the softening subtly and welcoming texture of luxury velvet upholstery and home accessories, and chalky paint finishes.
So, while we now embrace the darkest of greens for our homes – with our emerald green velvet bedspread becoming an iconic and coveted staple of our accessories collection, adorning the finest French Beds in all the land – we look at the history of the most beguiling of tones and its interesting history.
The Colour of Calm | Emerald Green
It’s well known that greens are psychologically soothing. Roman emperor Nero preferred to watch gladiatorial battles through lenses made from cut emeralds, believing their colour to be calming. Greens are the epitome of nature and healthy living, making them a perfect choice for healing environments and relaxing bedrooms. And for the last few years they’ve helped infuse the French style furniture of our interiors with a noble softness, not often associated with jewel tones. But greens, particularly the emerald variety, are steeped in an interesting history – which might leave you surprised they even made it to 2019 at all.
The Colour of Nature
As you can imagine, our love for greens starts in nature. Emerald stones have long been revered for their supposed healing powers and as a symbol of fidelity. The abundance of green in the natural world means that it has always been associated with youth, health and fertility. Our ancestors were surrounded by greens, which to them, symbolised fresh growth, vitality and sustenance – so far, so good.
Green’s depth and lusciousness contributed to it being known as a colour of wealth in the medieval period. Along with rich reds, beautiful green velvet gowns and precious silk fabrics were a marker for prosperity.
But while green seems to have had had a bright start, several factors led to it’s fall from grace for a number of centuries.
Firstly, with the rise in popularity of ‘modern’ religion, green was painted (quite literally) as the colour of the ‘mistrusted’, tree loving Pagans; witches, dragons, sprites and even the Devil himself were often depicted in green hues.
Shakespeare fuelled the anti-green movement, by immortalising jealousy as ‘the green ey’d monster’ in his play, Othello.
The biggest green-mood killer of all, came in the form of arsenic. In 1814, German chemists created what has become known as Emerald green – a heady, and lethal, concoction of Verdigris, vinegar and arsenic, which made it possible to colour fabrics, paints and wallpapers as brightly as a tropical rainforest.
Mysterious deaths began to occur due to arsenic vapours produced in damp green rooms; it was rumoured that Napoleon, exiled to the humid island of St. Helena, was poisoned by his green wallpaper.
Green’s Good to Go
But, with the end of the World Wars there was a desire for new beginnings, and green’s was subject to a renewed lease of life and popularity. Now in a new century, green’s esteem shows no sign of waning thanks to the ‘green movement’ of healthy, clean and conscientious living. In our busy lives, we crave the feeling of nature and the tranquillity we associate with the freshest of tones. Green is now the way we want to live and the colour we want to live with.
Emerald greens make for the perfect partner of soft, millennial pink – giving the rosy neutral a grown-up, fresh edge. A monochrome room can instantly be brought to life with an emerald green velvet cushion, bedroom stool or playfully elegant table lamp. And its versatility knows no bounds, as the walls of a Victorian home lend themselves to the drama that deep, rich greens can bring to a space.
For more inspiration and ideas on styling with fresh greens, why not contact our in-house interiors stylists. Our team are knowledgeable about our full range of luxury furniture, French-style, beautiful accessories and interior styling, so, are always happy to give advice based on your own home.
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