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What to Know About the May Birthstone

by Chante Walker
Last updated on February 12, 2024

Emerald, the May birthstone, is rich in color and popularity. Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor are famously known to adore it.

The May birthstone is still sought after today, and you can find them in many iterations. From emerald birthstone rings to emerald earrings, emerald birthstone jewelry will always be beautiful.

The Emerald Birthstone

Emerald gemstones originate from the ancient Greek word smáragdus.
Emerald gemstones originate from the ancient Greek word smáragdus.

The name of May’s birthstone originated from the ancient Greek word for green, smáragdus

The May birthstone is a part of the beryl family. Others of the mineral beryl variety include aquamarine, morganite, and yellow beryl. Beryl is the main ore or beryllium. Beryllium is an extremely hard metal and is sometimes used in alloys to harden other metals.

In traditional and modern birthstone charts, the emerald gemstone represents May birthdays. Spring has fully sprung in May, so the emerald green gem is a perfect symbol of the season.

The Rich Green Color of the Emerald

Although there are other green gemstones like green sapphire, jade, and peridot, emerald is favored.

The Emerald birthstone is among many other pleochroic stones. Pleorichism means “more colors.” Pleorich gems, like the emerald, show two to three colors when viewed from varying angles. Gems that only show two colors are called dichroic stones.

Emeralds typically show more than the color green due to varied inclusions. From some angles, the gem will gleam the color blue. Above all, the emerald green color is a staple hue. The clarity of an emerald birthstone depends on the number of inclusions. Fewer inclusions render a clearer gem, increasing its value.

The History of the Emerald Gem


Egypt and Emeralds

Natural emerald mining occurred in Egypt as early as 330 BC, but others argue the practice is around 3 billion years old. During Cleopatra’s reign, she claimed all of Egypt’s emerald mines. Egyptians wore the finest emeralds as jewelry and used the gemstone for Monarchs’ burials as a symbol of protection.

Incas, the Spanish Conquest, and Emeralds

For about 500 years, the Incas possessed Colombian emeralds. When Spanish conquistadors invaded the New World and overthrew the Incas, they traded precious gemstones for precious metals. As a result, other royals became aware of the green gems’ existence.

Other than Colombia, emerald mines are in Zambia and Brazil.

The Wonders of Emerald City

The emerald birthstone is referenced very often around the globe.

Widely known as a fictional land in the Wizard of Oz books, Emerald city is also the city nickname for Seattle, Washington. Due to its expansive green landscape, Ireland’s nickname is the Emerald Isle.

The Sacred Emerald Buddha at The Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, Thailand.
The Sacred Emerald Buddha at The Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, Thailand.

A temple in Thailand houses a figurine in a meditative position called the Emerald Buddha. Surprisingly, it is jasper, not emerald. 

Healing Powers of the Emerald Gem

Many historic retellings name emeralds to be a source of restoration. Generally, emerald birthstones symbolize good fortune and healing powers. Metaphysically, emerald opens the heart chakra and calms erratic emotions. Given that, it’s used for balance, wisdom, and patience and promotes friendship and reciprocal unconditional love.

In the past, it served as a tool of remedy. Today, the green gemstone is a symbol of restoration and even relieves stress and eye strain.

Mined Emerald

Rough-mined emerald.

Traditionally mined emerald jewelry has a list of cleaning directions. In brief, never clean emeralds with harsh chemicals. Delicately wash the gemstone with soapy water. Lastly, avoid hot water and opt for warm instead.

Mohs hardness scale is a standardized way to identify minerals and understand their resistance to scratches of another already identified mineral. Emerald is at 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale between Topaz (8) and Quartz (7). Diamond can scratch it, but glass cannot. Consequently, the green gems’ placement on the Mohs hardness scale suggests they need more care from daily wear to last.

Mining natural precious stones are detrimental to the environment. Unfortunately, mined diamonds go through a long process before becoming jewelry.

Lab Grown Emerald Inspired Jewelry

Lab grown diamonds are a inexpensive modern alternative to typically mined diamonds. 

Aside from environmental impact, mining has a history of unethical practices. So, considering a lab created diamond or synthetic emeralds is a way to have the jewelry you desire with little worry.

Colored Diamonds

May Birthstone: Radiant Cut - Fancy Dark Green Lab Grown Diamond
Radiant Cut – Fancy Dark Green Lab Grown Diamond

Lab grown technology has progressed significantly to form colored diamonds. Our selection of colored diamonds includes a range of pinks, yellows, blues, and greens. Above is our Fancy Dark Green 1.75ct VVS2 Radiant Lab Created Diamond. In essence, you can incorporate the iconic green color outside an emerald gemstone.

Emerald Cut Diamonds

May Birthstone: An emerald cut lab grown diamond.
An emerald cut lab grown diamond.

What if you want the emerald cut but not the color green – we’ve got you covered! We offer a range of loose diamonds and diamond jewelry featuring a beautiful emerald diamond shape. Find your perfect cut with our filtering tool. Need assistance? Certainly, contact us by phone, schedule a virtual appointment or visit a Clean Origin showroom near you.

May Birthstone: Petite Windsor Bridal Set + Emerald Cut Lab Created Diamond
Petite Windsor Bridal Set + Emerald Rings Cut Lab Created Diamond

Shop our emerald-cut earrings, engagement rings, eternity bands, tennis bracelets, and necklaces. Here we have our Petite Windsor Bridal Set, a combination typically worn after a wedding featuring our Petite Windsor Engagement Ring and matching Petite Windsor Wedding Band. The set is compatible with a range of our lab created diamonds, and our brilliant emerald-cut stone is one of them.

Emerald-Cut for Everyone

Emerald Lab Created Diamond Engagement Ring
Emerald Lab Created Diamond Engagement Ring

In sum, Emerald-cut diamonds are perfect for special occasions. The classic shape offers endless styling options. Because we provide practical 14k and 18k gold and platinum metals, our diamond jewelry is created for you to love and wear all the time.

two carat total weight emerald shaped lab grown diamond stud set in eighteen karat yellow gold.
Certified 18kt Emerald Shaped Stud

Above all, the may birthstone is a gift for anyone, even if they do not have a May birthday. Give a bracelet for Mother’s Day, an engagement ring for the one, or earrings for yourself. Emerald-cut diamonds are suitable for everyone.

Want to know more about another birthstone? Learn more about the September Birthstone: Sapphire.