May Birthstone Emerald

in ,

The emerald is the birthstone for May and is also the gemstone to be given to celebrate the 20th and 35th wedding anniversary. This highly-prized gemstone has been enchanting people with its beauty for over 4000 years and has been valued for its magical and healing powers by many affluent people in history.

Emerald or deep green beryl is a symbol of life, love, springtime, and nature. The gem prized by the Egyptians, Indians, and Aztec is as valuable as a diamond today.

Emeralds are some of the world’s most renowned gemstones, prized by the Ancient Egyptians, the Aztec, and historically in India for their deep green color and supposed powers for luck, love, and nature. Today, emerald is known as the birthstone for the month of May and is used in engagement rings and other jewelry.

Green Emerald

Emerald is the green form of the gemstone beryl, a mineral that occurs in many colors. Emerald is the most famous and the most valuable beryl; the best emeralds are even more valuable than diamonds. The name comes from the Greek “smaragdos” which is in turn derived from the Semitic or Sanskrit word for the color green.

Emeralds are very hard (7.5 – 8 on the Mohs 10 point scale) but may be fragile or brittle because of impurities, which are very common in this gemstone. Emeralds can range from a pale green color to deep, vivid green, and inclusions are common and are affectionately called “Jardin” by those who appreciate these little signs of natural emerald growth. A dark emerald with visible inclusions is still worth much more than a perfect, unflawed stone with a pale green color.

The Emerald in History

Emeralds have a long and powerful history. They were worshiped by the Incas, revered by Aristotle for their powers to raise confidence in speech and business and also for their healing powers, and were favored by Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt. In ancient Rome, Nero used a transparent emerald to watch the gladiator fight through because the color gave a calming effect. Because the stones were so precious they were mostly owned and worn by the affluent and royalty and have adorned royal crowns and jewelry throughout the ages.

72.11-Carat Lot of Rare Velvet Green Round Sandawana EmeraldsEmeralds were prized by ancient Egyptian pharaohs and by the Aztec rulers in South America, who considered the green gem a holy stone. In India, ancient scriptures speak of the emerald as a gemstone that offers good luck and health.

Museums are littered with huge, famous emeralds that have passed through the hands of history, such as the famous Mogul emerald. At 10 cm tall and almost 218 carats, it is carved with prayers and an elaborate floral design that dates back to 1695 AD.

Significance and Powers Ascribed to Emeralds

Emeralds are believed to contain the goodness of life within their deep green depths. They are said to have the power to foretell the future by placing one on your tongue or wearing one on the body’s left side. Emeralds have also been used as antidotes for spells and enchantments. However, the greatest power the emerald possesses is as a symbol of adoration, love, and devotion.

Owning an emerald is like owning a piece of gemstone history. Whether you were born in May or just adore the beauty of its luscious green color, you are sure to be enchanted while wearing an emerald.

Like most gemstones, the emerald has been attributed with a long list of healing and magical powers. Emeralds are often linked with:

  • luck and good health
  • springtime and renewal
  • the astrological signs Cancer, Taurus, and Gemini
  • beauty and love, gifts of the Greek goddess Venus
  • harmony
  • nature
  • joy and vigor
  • 20th, 35th, and 55th anniversaries

The Best Emeralds Come from Colombia, the Oldest from Zimbabwe

Emeralds are found in Zambia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Russia, but the best emeralds are mined in Colombia, where roughly 150 sites have been discovered. Historical emerald deposits were found in Egypt, near the Red Sea, but these were depleted 3 to 4,000 years ago.

Emeralds from Zimbabwe are some of the oldest gemstones in the world, growing 2600 million years ago, and those in Pakistan have been determined to be over 9 million years old.

Emerald Gemstones in Jewelry

Emerald is known in the jewelry trade as one of the “big three” gemstones, along with ruby and sapphire. It is popular in jewelry of all kinds and is one of the most common alternate gemstones used in engagement rings if a diamond ring is not desired.

1.85-Carat Outstanding Velvet Green Zambian Emerald (Untreated)The brittleness of the emerald makes cutting this gemstone a challenge for even expert jewelers, although the well-known “emerald cut,” used on emeralds and other gemstones, was developed to reduce the amount of pressure on the stone and give better results with this fragile gemstone.

Emeralds can be enhanced with oil or resin to hide fissures and inclusions, but as a result, the gems must be handled carefully. Treated emeralds should never be exposed to soap or cleaned with an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner.


  • Friedman, Hershel, “Emerald,”, 2000
  • ICA Gem Bureau, “Emerald,”, 2009

Related Posts

Information on Rubies

Ruby Gemstone Information The ruby is the undisputed king of gemstones. In ancient Sanskrit, ruby is called Ratnaraj which means king of precious stones. No gemstone is as spontaneously associated ... Read More

Information on Coral Gemstones

Coral Gemstone Information Coral is among the most ancient of gem materials, used for adornment since pre-historic times. Coral is an organic gem, calcium carbonate with a trace of carotene, ... Read More

Information on Kyanite

Kyanite Gemstone Information Derived from the Greek word Kyanos, meaning blue, Kyanite is a gemstone as beautiful and mesmerizing as Blue Sapphire. It bears a strong resemblance to the deep ... Read More

Mythology of the Ruby

Red Gemstone Symbolic of Passion and Devotion Throughout history, the ruby has been celebrated as the most prized of all gemstones. There are many cultural references supporting our recognition of ... Read More

Mythology of the Amethyst

Amethyst Gemstone’s Place in Antiquity is Testament to its Unique Color Considered a stone of friendship, the amethyst is said to protect its wearer against seduction and evil spirits, as ... Read More