Emerald – May Birthstone Meaning

OUR Social Media Manager admitted that when she first came to work at The Diamond Store, she used to adore diamonds and tanzanite. Now, she’s deeply in love with emeralds. Apparently, it’s difficult to explain. But it seems there’s just something about their green glow. First, it captures the eye, then the heart.

A gem of history, legend and lore

History will agree that the emerald has something bewitching about it. As May’s birthstone, the emerald is a gem full of magic and meaning.

Cleopatra dressed in emeralds from head to toe. Nero, the Roman Emperor, claimed that gazing into an emerald soothed his eyes.

The world’s best emeralds come from South America. Therefore it’s particularly prominent in ancient Inca lore. This ancient civilization used to worship emeralds as gods.

Emerald birthstone rings in various shapes

Powerful birthstone symbolism

The emerald is May’s birthstone. It’s the perfect springtime gem because its colour evokes the freshness of nature and new growth.

Early Romans believed emeralds represented fertility and love and they gave them as gifts to young wives and mothers.

In turn, the Egyptians believed emeralds contained the secret to eternal youth. That’s why so many have been found inside Pharaohs’ tombs.

According to modern astrology, emeralds are aligned with the star sign of Taurus and symbolise wisdom, patience, love and fidelity.


A mysterious “inner glow”

An emerald’s beauty is quite hard to imagine unless you’ve actually held one in your hand. When looking at natural emeralds, each one is unique.

Their hue may look striking or soft, depending on lighting and the different concentrations on trace minerals inside the crystal.

However, it’s not just their colour that’s so eye-catching. Apart from the sparkle created by their facets, emeralds also seem to glow with a light that comes from deep within.

Take a look at this video to see the unique way in which an emerald reflects light:

Official anniversaries and occasions

Emerald is the official gift gem for celebrating the 20th and 55th years of marriage. The latter is referred to as an “Emerald Anniversary”.

As May’s official birthstone gem, emerald jewellery gifts is perfect for marking a May birthday. They are also gifted for spring engagements, weddings, graduations, communions or to celebrate the birth of a new baby. 

The celebrity jewel

During the last century alone, Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Queen Elizabeth II have been known for their love of emerald jewellery.

Angelina Jolie caused a sensation at the 2009 Oscars by wearing emerald earrings that cost 2 million US dollars.

In 2013, Beyoncé made fashion waves by wearing a spectacular pair of emerald earrings to President Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.

In 2015, Lady Gaga flaunted a large pear-shaped emerald pendant and matching earrings at the Grammys.

via @StyleWatchMag / Twitter

Lady Gaga at the 2015 Grammy Awards / via @StyleWatchMag on Twitter

Beyoncé at President Obama inauguration 2013 / via The Platform on Twitter

Beyoncé at President Obama inauguration 2013 / via The Platform on Twitter

Angelina Jolie at Oscars 2009 / via Shutterstock Everett Collection

The aquamarine’s “rich cousin”

Emeralds are a green variety of a mineral called beryl – the same mineral that blue aquamarines are formed from.

But the emerald’s green hue comes from chromium and vanadium trace elements. It far more rare and therefore more expensive than the aquamarine.

Emeralds are assessed in a way similar to diamonds

Our gemmologist has more than 40 years’ experience in evaluating gems. He recommends assessing emeralds in a way similar to diamonds, by their clarity, colour, cut and carat weight.

The best emeralds have hardly any inclusions, and sparkle with intense green colour. Colombian emeralds are widely considered to be the best in the world.

A Colombian emerald, just mined

A Colombian emerald, just mined and still attached to the rock

Emerald jewellery should be treated gently

The emerald’s crystal structure is quite brittle, even though the mineral beryl itself is fairly tough, ranking 7.8-8 on the Mohs Scale of mineral hardness. That’s why you should always protect your emerald jewellery from knocks and scratches.

The safest way to clean emeralds? Wash your jewellery in a bowl with warm, soapy water, scrubbing gently with an old toothbrush. Pat dry.



Advice for buying emerald jewellery

Clear emeralds are difficult to find in large sizes. So the bigger they get, the more dramatically they rise in price.

To create your own emerald collection, we’d recommend you start off with a pair of good commercial quality emerald earrings or a small pendant. They’re the perfect way to get introduced to this beautiful green gem.

After that, the sky’s the limit. The emerald lends itself beautifully to all jewellery from bracelets to full eternity bands.

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