Emerald is symbolic of growth, renewal and regeneration, said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, the research division of Pantone Inc., which creates colour standards for the fashion, beauty and home industries.
"That is what the stone implies and has... for many cultures. It celebrates new life, and that, we feel, is a good message because it speaks of optimism for the future," she said in a phone interview from Bainbridge Island, Wash.
"At the same time, because it is closely connected to the gemstone, more people would think of it as a colour that is very sophisticated."
The selection of the rich green hue — which Eiseman describes as a "well-balanced colour" — is a striking departure from Tangerine Tango, the reddish-orange shade that took Pantone's top colour honour for 2012.
Pantone's annual colour forecast of the hottest hue for the year ahead factors in a number of different influences from graphic design and fashion to film and TV.
Eiseman said they also look at the consumer zeitgeist from an international perspective, and start to seek out a colour symbolic of what people feel they need. They are also on the lookout for a "building up of references" in the years leading up the hue in question being named the top colour, she added.
With that checklist in tow, emerald — and its seemingly universal appeal among style arbiters and consumers — appears to fit the bill.
"If you look into emerald... from a very traditional, historical perspective — and this is something that's shared by many cultures — it comes from the most abundant colour family in nature. There are more greens than there are any other colours," said Eiseman.
"But we had to look for a specific green that was not one that we were seeing as much of, but as I said, was on the ascendancy."
Indeed, the vibrant shade has been a fashionable favourite for some time, from the sleeved, sequinned Versace number worn by Angelina Jolie to the 2011 Golden Globes to the sleek, silk Mulberry dress donned recently by the Duchess of Cambridge. But Eiseman noted that emerald greens are surfacing in cosmetics as well, notably in the proliferation of colours emerging in nail polishes.
Eiseman said emerald is already being seen colouring kitchen appliances, and consumers can expect to see bedding and dishware among the array of items steeped in the shade in the months to come.
"Certainly in domestics and linens, table tops, glassware, ceramics (is) where emerald really shines," she said. "If you do emerald in glassware it is just spectacular. It also takes on such beautiful colourations.
"These are the ways you're going to be seeing it, and in a lot of high-tech kind of applications as well going forward," she added.
"The more time and effort that is put into technology and what's creates some of these finishes, like in cars, you are definitely going to be seeing coming up."