Oakley make lots of different colours of lenses. An entire rainbow. Probably 50% or more of the glasses they sell are fitted with the excellent but fairly boring Black Iridium, maybe with a polarisation thrown in. I’ve got a fair few of those. But the lens I have most of, my favourite, is the much less common Emerald.
These lenses come in two variants – Emerald, and Emerald Polarised. They are both based on a grey, neutral lens, which makes the view from inside pretty standard, even boring – but it also makes them very restful to wear. However, it’s the view from outside which first attracted me!
Clockwise from top:
C-wire 1.0, platinum (coloured!) frame, Emerald lens
A-wire 2.0, brushed alloy frame, Emerald lens
A-wire 2.0, black chrome frame, Emerald Polarised lens
Square Whisker, pewter (coloured) frame, Emerald Polarised lens
Whisker, pewter (coloured) frame, Emerald Polarised lens
C-wire 1.0, titanium frame, Emerald Polarised lens
You might notice that the two Whisker variants have much bluer green lenses, while the others are more yellowy-green. Oakley lenses often evolve over time – the older ruby lenses for instance are much deeper red, the newer ones more orangey. So it is with Emerald; the Whisker pairs are much newer than the A-wires and C-wires. There’s also a subtle difference in the older glasses, between the mirror on the polarised lenses and the mirror on the plain ones.
These two are A-wire 2.0. The ‘brushed’ finish on the left goes with the plain lenses, the shiny black chrome on the right have polarised. The former came from an eBay seler in the UK, the latter from a chap in the US. This frame is quite a tight fit on me, they’re not very wide and they have standard hinges, so there’s very little give in them. But they are quite comfortable and provide great coverage – the lenses cover my orbits and they fit fairly close, so there isn’t much light leakage round the edges.
The two most recent pairs are Whisker variants. The Square Whiskers are older, and I actually only bought the Whiskers a couple of months ago. Until quite recently, there were only 4 styles of Oakleys ever made with Emerald Polarised lenses – Square Whiskers, A-Wires, C-Wires and one I don’t like called Bottlecap (won’t be getting those!) and at one point they were only available as an exclusive through Sunglass Hut in the US. Oakley have recently changed all that, however, and now the Emerald lenses are available on several other newer styles – I just haven’t got round to buying them yet! 🙂 The Whiskers are fairly large glasses and quite an adaptable fit, because the arms are very thin and quite flexible and springy.
These are probably the rarest of the lot. They’re C-wire 1.0 glasses. The pair on the left – a frame made of titanium, with the polarised lenses – is possibly the rarest of all. They’re only the second pair of this style I’ve ever seen with those lenses, and they didn’t come cheap – I got them used but mint from a collector in the US. Definitely worth it, though. The pair on the right are in a colour called ‘platinum’, which is actually a slightly goldish-silvery colour, and have standard unpolarised lenses. The C-wires have sprung hinges, so they are quite an adaptable fit. They have better coverage than initial appearances might suggest – like the A-Wires, they’re quite close fitting and follow the shape of the eye socket, wrapping around at the sides.
If you feel like you have a yen for some Emeralds, your best bet right now is a pair of Emerald Polarised Whiskers, which are still available from Oakley as new. All the others are discontinued, years back – I’m incredibly careful with these, because the lenses are essentially irreplaceable if they get scratched. But they do all get worn, even so – no point having nice sunglasses which sit on the shelf. 🙂