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A Guide To The May Birthstone: Emerald 

May’s birthstone proves it really is easy being green. Known for its rich green color, it is no wonder this gem representing spring has been beloved for ages. And thanks to the lore attached to it, emeralds are as stylish as they are meaningful. Read on to learn everything about this luscious gemstone and find your gorgeous green beauty.

Emerald Jewelry

What Is The May Birthstone?

Emerald Necklaces

The May birthstone is emerald. A perfect gemstone for spring thanks to its vibrant green color, emeralds look best when set in yellow or white gold (take your pick!). A highly stylish choice, it is no wonder this gemstone is a global favorite. From celebrities to royals, emeralds are a timeless choice that is all the rage.

The Symbolism And Meaning Of Emerald

Emeralds are chock full of meaning and symbolism. It is thought to be one of the four stones God gave to King Solomon, as part of the four precious stones having the power over all creation.

May’s birthstone was thought to have magical powers in the Middle Ages, able to break spells, cure illnesses, and even bring good fortune. Emeralds are also believed to bring honesty, making it so someone has to tell the truth.

And this gemstone is for lovers. Emeralds have been believed to bring passion and increase love and romantic energy.

What Color Is The May Birthstone?

Color Clarity Of Emeralds

Emeralds are known for their deep rich green color. But did you know, the famous green hue of emeralds can vary in depth and purity? In fact, all emeralds have some level of inclusions from the natural growth process.

So how do they get their color? Emeralds are made of the mineral beryl and have impurities such as chromium and vanadium. These allow May’s birthstone to come in shades ranging from light to deep forest green.

Emeralds’ color in fact is so important in its value, the purer the color, the more valuable the emerald.

A Brief History Of The May Birthstone

Emeralds get their name from the French word ‘esmeraude,” which gets its name from the ancient Greek ‘smaragdos,’ which means gem.

Emeralds are estimated to go back as far as three billion years and were recorded in 330 BC in Egypt. Cleopatra, the Queen of Egypt, was famous for her love of the gemstone. Egyptians as a whole loved emeralds and used them in jewelry, even burying their royalty with them for protection.

In modern times, Columbia has been the main source of emeralds for over 500 years. Emeralds can also be found in Brazil, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Zambia, and other parts of Africa.

Understanding Emerald’s Sensitivity And Fragility

Moh Scale

Emeralds rate a 7.5 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale. Considered strong but not super durable, emeralds can break or chip under high pressure or heat, so it is important to take good care of your gemstone.

Practical Tips For Cleaning And Preserving Emerald Jewelry

It is important to properly care for your emerald jewelry so that it always shines bright and looks luxurious.

Follow these tips to protect your May birthstone jewelry.

  • Store your emerald jewelry separately, preferably in the original packaging such as soft jewelry bags or boxes.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures, particularly intense heat and strong light.
  • Remove your jewelry in situations such as the beach, chlorinated pools, the gym, showering, cleaning, and when dealing with lotions and makeup.

Follow these tips to clean your emerald jewelry.

  • Fill a bowl with warm water and mild soap. 
  • Allow the jewelry to soak.
  • Then use a soft-bristle brush to gently remove any dirt.
  • Wipe with a clean cloth and air dry.

What Are the Other May Birthstones?

May, like many months of the year, has more than one birthstone. In addition to the popular emerald, agates are also a birthstone for May. Agates are a chalcedony, known for their multitude of colors.


What are the benefits of an emerald birthstone?

Emeralds have been thought to cure diseases, evoke the truth, and bring love and passion. They certainly bring beauty and style!

Are emeralds expensive?

Compared to many of their gemstone counterparts, emeralds are priced higher. This is due in large part to their rarity, as well as their color. The purer an emerald’s color, the higher the price. 

Why is emerald so special?

One of the few precious gemstones, emeralds are special due to their rarity, meaning, and beautifully intense color.


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With over 10 years of experience writing and editing on a wide variety of subjects, Sarah is a veteran of the content world. Since joining James Allen, she has focused on all things diamonds and fine jewelry with the goal of educating and empowering consumers.