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What to Know About the May Birthstone

by Chante Walker
Last updated on October 26, 2022

The May birthstone, emerald, is rich in color and popularity. Famously, Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor adored it.

The emerald’s beauty is still sought after today and holds space in ringsbracelets, and earrings.

The Emerald Birthstone

Emerald gemstones.
An emerald gemstone.

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

Emerald is a part of the beryl family. Others of the mineral beryl variety include aquamarine, morganite, and yellow beryl. 

In traditional and modern birthstone charts, the emerald gemstone represents May birthdays. In May, spring has fully sprung. The 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 May birthstone is among many other pleochroic 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 stone depends on the number of inclusions. Fewer inclusions render a clearer gem, increasing its value.

The History of the Emerald Gem

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 Wonderful World of Emerald

Emerald 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.

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. Emerald birthstones symbolize good fortune and healing powers.

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

Mined Emerald

Rough-mined emerald.

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

Emerald is at 7.5 on Moh’s hardness scale. Diamond can scratch it, but glass cannot. Consequently, the green gems’ placement on Moh’s scale suggests they will need more care from daily wear to last. 

Unfortunately, mining natural resource is detrimental to the environment. Mined diamonds also go through a long process before becoming jewelry. 

Lab Grown Emerald-Cut Diamond

An emerald cut lab grown diamond.

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

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

Emerald-Cut for Everyone

Emerald-cut diamond ring.

Emerald-cut diamonds are perfect for special occasions. The classic shape offers endless styling options.

Above all, it 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.