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Emerald green is color of 2013

MICHAEL Michael Kors ' cotton-blend sweater with shoulder

MICHAEL Michael Kors ' cotton-blend sweater with shoulder grommets, $120, and cotton stretch palm-print jeans, $125, in a shade he calls "kelly" but looks just like emerald; at Bloomingdale's stores and Credit: Handout

Irish eyes will be smiling this year, thanks to the color experts at Pantone, who last month declared emerald green the 2013 "color of the year."

Not sage. Not chartreuse. Emerald.

It's a lush, vivid shade that calls to mind environmental protection, says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. "Indian mystics refer to it as the color that most balances everything -- it speaks of unity and harmony," she says, adding she doesn't want to sound "too woo woo."

Too late. But that's OK. One expects no less from someone who makes her living researching colors -- how we view and buy them -- and forecasting trends.

Pantone, the outfit that helped standardize shades, has been declaring colors of the year since 2000. (Last year was Tangerine Tango.)

How does Eiseman come up with such shades?

She and her team keep their eyes peeled wherever they go, surveying designer collections, concept car shows (she's got her eye on a nifty green Corvette), art exhibits, Italian silk manufacturers -- even graffiti. "I store all these nuggets away . . . and it's just like a bell goes off," she says.

Not that you'll see emerald everywhere, mind you. It's like an incoming wave, seen from a distance.

"I've started to see indications of it more than the usual yellow-greens we've seen in the past," Eiseman says.

Fair enough. Here's a glimpse of what's in stores and online.

Green in cosmetics, too

Pantone's emerald swatch hits cosmetics counters with the Sephora + Pantone Universe 2013 Color of the Year Emerald Collection, including sheer lip gloss, eyeliner, shadow, mascara, nail lacquer and glitter dust, $10 to a $68 set; in March exclusively at Sephora and

Or try:

* Urban Decay's 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Covet, $19; at Sephora, Ulta,, and

* Elle Cosmetics Eyeshadow #17, $16; at Kohl's and

* Nails Inc. Nail Jewelry Piccadilly Arcade in Emerald, a 3-D look with tiny fragments glittering like gems, $9.50; at Sephora and

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