Emerald: The Alluring & Vibrant May Birthstone

What are Emeralds

The emerald is a precious green stone belonging to the beryl family, whose chemical composition and structural properties give it its unique physical appearance and colour. It belongs to the hexagonal crystal system. Its crystals usually form a baguette or hexahedral lattice, and these crystals are characterised by their growth, which often contains numerous internal fractures and inclusions, features often referred to in the jewellery world as ‘jardin’. Instead of destroying the beauty of the emerald, these inclusions add character and depth to the stone, making it unique.

The beauty of the emerald is not only due to its distinctive green colour, but also to the complexity and imperfections of its internal structure (inclusions and cracks, for example), characteristics that give each emerald a unique character and story. These characteristics are highly prized in jewellery making, making the emerald one of the world's most sought-after gemstones.

Historical Origins and Symbolism of the Emeralds

The emerald has a long history as a precious gemstone that is closely linked to the history of many cultures and civilisations. The mining of emeralds dates back to Ancient Egypt around 1500 BC, particularly in the area of Cleopatra's Mines. These mines were known as ‘Cleopatra's Mines’ because Queen Cleopatra of Egypt was said to have had a particular fondness for the stone. The ancient Egyptians believed that emeralds symbolised fertility and rebirth, and often used them to make amulets and burial objects.

Uses in Ancient Civilisations

Religion and Healing: In many ancient civilisations, emeralds were believed to have healing and protective powers. For example, the ancient Romans believed that emeralds were able to cure eye diseases, while the Christian tradition believed that the stone symbolised hope and renewal.

Royal Symbolism and Power: Emeralds were also a symbol of power and status in ancient times. In the Inca Empire, emeralds were considered extremely sacred and were only worn by royalty and high priests. These gems were often used in important religious ceremonies and as tribute.

Art and Decoration: In addition to religious and therapeutic uses, emeralds were also widely used for decoration and artwork. During the Renaissance, for example, European jewellers began to embed emeralds in fine jewellery made of gold and silver to showcase their deep green colour and exceptional transparency.

Important Discoveries and Historical Events

Spanish Conquistadors: In the early 16th century, Spanish conquistadors discovered large quantities of emeralds in South America; these stones were then brought back to Europe, increasing the global popularity and demand for emeralds.

Famous Emeralds: Some famous emeralds in history, such as the Morgan emerald (an important emerald donated to the American Museum of Natural History by the American banker J.P. Morgan), demonstrate the popularity and preciousness of this gemstone worldwide.

The Symbolism of Emeralds

For centuries, people have been captivated by the transcendent beauty of fine emeralds. With their deep green hue, both the green of sunlit meadows and the deep richness of nature and even night, emeralds are considered one of the world's most precious gemstones. Believed by the Incas to be a special gemstone that brings eternal life, emeralds were once worth more than diamonds. Colour, clarity and cut all play a part in making emeralds so valuable. The deeper the colour and the more evenly distributed the hues, the higher the value.

Not only are emeralds prized for their unique beauty, but they have also found a place in several cultures for their rich symbolism. The significance of this gemstone has varied with cultures and eras, but is universally associated with themes such as wisdom, regeneration and peace.

  • Wisdom

In ancient Egypt, emeralds were considered a symbol of wisdom. It is said that Egyptian pharaohs often wore emeralds as an aid to decision-making, believing that it gave them insight and impartial judgement. And in Ancient Greece, emeralds were associated with Athena, the goddess of wisdom, and were believed to bring intellectual and spiritual clarity.

  • Regeneration and Life Force

Emeralds have been linked to the concept of life and regeneration in many cultures. For example, the ancient Romans believed that emeralds could help restore and maintain youth. In the Christian tradition, emeralds symbolise eternal life and are often used in religious art and sacred objects to express themes of resurrection and eternal life.

  • Peace and Healing

In many cultures, the emerald is seen as a symbol of peace. Its calming green colour is thought to soothe the mind and reduce stress. In traditional medicine, emeralds are also used as a supportive stone in the treatment of mental and physical ailments, especially in enhancing heart health and vision.

Zodiac Birthstone

As the birthstone of May, the emerald symbolises the vibrancy of spring and the revival of nature. This gemstone is revered in several cultures around the world for its vibrant green colour and rich historical and cultural significance. May usually marks the end of spring and the beginning of summer, when the vigour of growth is at its peak. The green colour of emeralds not only symbolises the abundance of nature and the regeneration of life, but also represents wisdom and love, embodying the vitality of spring and the hope of renewal. Choosing the emerald as the birthstone for May is a special tribute to those born in this month, which brings hope, renewal and endless vitality.

May-borns who wear the emerald are said to benefit from its healing and protective properties, which strengthens them on their path of personal growth and spiritual development. As a birthstone, emerald is believed to attract a positive outlook on life and promote good health, especially in the modern stressful living environment.

By incorporating emeralds into the birthstone tradition, we are not only celebrating those born in the month of May, but we are also celebrating the natural beauty and inner healing power that this gemstone represents. This unique connection makes the emerald the perfect symbol for the month of May, bringing hope, harmony and spiritual growth to its wearer.

Care and Cleaning of Emeralds

Emeralds score highly on the Mohs hardness scale at 7.5-8, meaning they are extremely durable. However, because emerald gemstones are so precious, you need to take care of them to ensure that they are not scratched or damaged. The best way to clean an emerald is to remove any dirt or debris with warm water, a mild detergent and a soft brush (such as a toothbrush). Always make sure to dry the stone and also polish the stone to a beautiful sheen for a deeper shade of green. Avoid using harsh chemicals such as abrasives or ultrasonic cleaners that can cause damage to the gemstone. You should also store your green gemstones in a soft pouch or jewellery box away from other gemstones to avoid the risk of scratching. Regular check-ups at a professional jeweller will also ensure that your emerald birthstone necklace or other emerald jewellery is intact and not loose.

Emeralds in Jewelry Design

The emerald is considered a symbol of wisdom, regeneration and peace. These attributes have given it special significance in many cultures.In the contemporary world, the emerald retains its age-old charm. Emeralds are known as a truly beautiful and timeless gemstone, not only because of their association with wealth and status, but also because they are fascinating to look at alone. Emeralds can add brightness and elegance to jewellery and are a great value as they are truly versatile gemstones that look great with yellow, sterling silver and white gold. Emeralds are also a more unique option for those who want to celebrate love and commitment without sticking to the classic choice of diamonds. This is especially true when commemorating special events and celebrating personal achievements. For example, emeralds are often used as anniversary jewellery, especially for the traditional 55th wedding anniversary (the emerald anniversary).

Emeralds have a very strong position in the jewellery market. Its rarity and demand ensure its high value and investment potential. As the market demand for responsibly mined and sustainably sourced gemstones increases, emeralds that meet ethical standards are particularly prized.


Whether from a gemmological perspective, a cultural perspective or its use in jewellery design, the emerald is a gemstone with far-reaching influence and enduring appeal. For those born in May, this birthstone is not only a beautiful adornment, but also a precious gift full of symbolism, carrying a deep meaning of celebrating life, hope and renewal.

Suitable Gemstones to Wear in May

Chrysoprase: Chrysoprase is linked to the heart chakra and is believed to promote love, forgiveness and compassion. It is also associated with abundance and joy.

Agate: Agate comes in a variety of types and colours and is believed to provide balance, harmony and protection. It is often used to ground and stabilise energy.

Carnelian: Carnelian is associated with motivation, courage and vitality and is thought to inspire creativity and boost self-confidence.

Rose Quartz: Known for its gentle energy, Rose Quartz symbolises love, compassion and emotional healing.

Rhodonite: Rhodonite is connected to the heart chakra and is believed to balance emotions, promote love and encourage forgiveness.