TheCoolist is a mood board for your headspace.

  1. TheCoolist
  2. Mystic
  3. birthstones

May Birthstone (Emerald) Meaning, Color, and History

The May birthstone is the emerald and symbolizes devotion, vitality, providence, and insight. The emerald is a gemstone synonymous with a lush and vibrant green that captures the essence of spring’s renewal. The emerald birthstone’s appeal extends beyond its beauty and carries a wealth of meaning and history that resonates with those born in May.

May birthstone
A summary of the May birthstone, including its meaning, color, and history

Emeralds serve as beacons of loyalty and zeal, reflecting a profound bond and vivacious spirit. Historically, May’s monthly birthstone has been connected to stories of romance and adoration, with its green color linked to the goddess Venus. The name “emerald” is derived from the Greek word “smaragdos,” which translates to “green stone,” emphasizing the gemstone’s connection to nature and vitality. Emeralds are believed to offer protection and foresight as mystical talismans, displaying qualities that ancient travelers and monarchs held in high regard. This historical context highlights the emerald’s lasting appeal and mystical allure for individuals celebrating a May birthday.

Modern emerald birthstones come in various shapes and structures to elongate the finger or convey a symbolic message. The oval cut and teardrop are the most common designs, creating a timeless and traditional look. Emeralds are treasured in heirloom jewelry and popular for contemporary pieces like engagement rings, embodying the stone’s timeless appeal.

Emeralds have a vast and fascinating history, and their energies resonate with those born in May the most. The following discusses the May birthstone’s meaning and how you can benefit from and wear emeralds.

What does the May birthstone mean?

The May birthstone, emerald signifies devotion, vitality, providence, and insight. Firstly, emeralds embody devotion, symbolizing deep love and compassion. Historically, this gemstone has been a favored choice for expressing romantic commitment, often featured in engagement rings and sentimental jewelry pieces. For example, Symbols of Magic: Amulets and Talismans by Clifford Lindsey Alderman references the ancient Romans dedicating the emerald to the goddess Venus and her namesake planet, cementing its association with heartfelt affection.

Secondly, the emerald represents vitality, with its lush green hue reflecting nature’s abundance and fertility. This vibrant color has long been linked to spring’s prosperity and growth. The rebirth that emeralds bring forth evokes a resilience similar to the month’s numerological counterpart, the number five, further backing it as a symbol of change and revival.

Thirdly, the emerald is synonymous with providence and is traditionally believed to offer protection. This protective quality extends to shielding its bearer from negative influences, as documented in various historical texts and folklore. Lastly, the gemstone is celebrated for providing insight. Its rich color enhances mental clarity and wisdom, aiding decision-making processes.

Emeralds resonate with May’s themes of renewal and life’s richness. The birthstone’s green color encapsulates the zest of spring, symbolizing the season’s promise of new life. Emeralds are treasured for their timeless elegance and the depth of meaning they carry. Wearing an emerald in May celebrates one’s birth month, embracing the stone’s historical significance and the qualities it represents.

The emerald stands as May’s birthstone for several reasons. It has been revered for its powers of regeneration, echoing the vitality of spring, as seen in the practices of the ancient Egyptians who mined emeralds for their life-affirming properties. Furthermore, the emerald’s connection to mythology and symbolism bolsters its position as May’s gem. For example, the association with Venus, the goddess of affection and beauty, aligns with May’s themes of love and abundance, making the emerald a fitting emblem for the month.

Infographic for the May birthstone
An infographic describing the May birthstone meaning and symbolism

What is the difference between modern and traditional May birthstones?

The difference between modern and traditional May birthstones is primarily reflected in their quality and historical significance. Emeralds remain the traditional gem for May, symbolizing renewal, love, and growth. The traditional May birthstone dates to ancient cultures, including the ancient Romans and Greeks, where it was used for healing and spiritual cleansing. Agate is the second traditional choice for May. It is valued for its variegated beauty and is believed to offer balance and strength. Comparatively, today’s modern emeralds are valued for their transparency and are often selected based on the rarity of inclusions, which enhances their desirability and value in the current market.

Are there alternate birthstones for May?

Yes, four significant alternate birthstones for May complement the traditional emerald: chrysoprase, green tourmaline, blue sapphire, and garnet. Chrysoprase stands out as a green variety of chalcedony, symbolizing growth, fidelity, and youth, thus enhancing the natural allure of those born in May. Green tourmaline is known for its lush green hues and is popular for its association with prosperity, aligning with the luxurious tastes of the May-born. Traditionally linked to wisdom, nobility, and protection, blue sapphire is revered in Tibetan culture as a stone of significance. Garnet is valued for its protective qualities and is May’s guardian angel stone. Each stone, with distinct colors and meanings, offers May individuals a rich selection of gemstones to reflect their unique traits and life’s ambitions.

Is there a May zodiac birthstone?

Yes, May has two zodiac birthstones corresponding to the emerald for Taurus and pearl for Gemini. The emerald is the primary birthstone for Taurus, which spans most of May. This gemstone complements Taurus’s love, growth, and renewal qualities, traits inherent to this earth sign. The zodiac birthstone transitions to the pearl as the month shifts to Gemini after the 21st. Pearls symbolize the multifaceted nature of Gemini, reflecting the sign’s versatility and the twin aspect through their lustrous and layered formation. Therefore, the emerald and pearl are May’s zodiac birthstones, each aligning with the respective signs’ energies.

What color is May’s birthstone?

May’s birthstone bears a wide spectrum of green colors. Emeralds are known for their vibrant green color, with the most valuable stones exhibiting a pure and intense green hue. The color green conflates with the imagery of growth and renewal, mirroring fresh spring colors. Emeralds range from soft greens resembling new foliage to deep verdant hues of a dense forest. Each shade reflects the birthstone’s fertility and message of growth.

What is the May birthstone crystal shape?

The May birthstone comes in the following five crystal shapes.

  • Emerald cut: An emerald cut is the most iconic cut for an emerald, featuring a rectangular shape with beveled corners and step-cut facets that highlight the gemstone’s color and clarity.
  • Oval: The oval shape maximizes the surface area, providing a large front-facing view of the gemstone and making any color and internal features more apparent.
  • Trilliant cut: A trilliant cut is a triangular-shaped gemstone with equal sides designed to maximize brilliance.
  • Pear: A teardrop shape that combines elements of the round and marquise cuts, often used in pendants and earrings for its elegant appearance.
  • Cabochon: A polished, rounded cut without facets, often used when the emerald has many inclusions or when showcasing an emerald’s star effect, known as asterism.

Emeralds naturally form in a hexagonal crystal structure as they belong to the beryl family of minerals, typically growing into prismatic hexagonal columns. In the gem trade, they are individually cut and polished into various shapes to enhance their aesthetic appeal and fit specific jewelry designs.

What’s the history of May’s birthstone?

The history of May’s birthstone dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who started mining emeralds around 330 BC. The Egyptians cherished them as symbols of fertility and rebirth for their vibrant green hues. These precious stones were equally important in ancient Rome and Greece, where they were dedicated to Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, and believed to offer protection from malevolent spirits. For example, the book Gems and Gem Minerals by Oliver C. Farrington describes the ancient Roman belief that emeralds could protect a person’s eyesight.

The emerald’s historical significance is rooted in its historical and biblical connections. Exodus mentions Emeralds as one of the twelve stones adorning the High Priest Aaron’s breastplate, signifying the tribes of Israel. This association instills the emerald with a deep religious and ceremonial importance. In Revelation, emeralds are named as one of the precious stones forming the foundation of New Jerusalem, adding a layer of devout significance to its lore, symbolizing eternal beauty and divine grace.

During the European Renaissance, a period marked by the revival of art and culture, emeralds gained extraordinary prominence among the elite. Their vibrant green hue was coveted by royalty and nobility, becoming a staple of wealth and status. The discovery of emerald mines in Colombia expanded the gemstone’s reach, as these mines were rich in emeralds of unparalleled quality and size. Colombian emeralds, noted for their exceptional purity and depth of color, soon became the benchmark for the finest emeralds, elevating the stone’s status further and solidifying its desirability across Europe’s royal houses.

Emeralds have long been symbols of love and compassion, frequently chosen for romantic jewelry. Their vibrant green hue embodies the spirit of spring, representing renewal and growth. This enduring legacy of emeralds is interwoven with their historical significance and deep symbolism. In 1912, this significance was formally recognized when the Jewelers of America decided May’s birthstone was to be emerald in their standardized list of birthstones. This decision was influenced by the emerald’s noble heritage and its historical association with fertility, rebirth, and love. The establishment of this list by the Jewelers of America helped to codify the emerald’s status, ensuring its place as a cherished gem for those celebrating May birthdays.

Where is the May birthstone found?

The May birthstone is found worldwide, with major mining operations in South America and Africa. Firstly, Colombia is regarded as one of the world’s most significant sources of emeralds. The South American country is renowned for producing deep, lush green emeralds. Colombia’s Muzo, Chivor, and Coscuez mines are particularly well-known for their high-quality emeralds.

Secondly, Brazil has been a historical source of emeralds, with significant production from regions like Bahia and Minas Gerais. Brazilian emeralds are distinct for featuring a slightly bluish tint. Thirdly, the African country of Zambia is a major producer of emeralds known for their rich color and transparency. The Kagem mine is one of Zambia’s most prolific sources of emeralds.

May birthstone chart

Below is a chart detailing the main aspects of the May birthstones.

May birthstones
Modern Emerald
Traditional Emerald and agate
Zodiac Emerald (Taurus) and pearl (Gemini)
Meaning Devotion, vitality, providence, and insight
Color Green
Historical significance Protection and healing

What are the May birthstone personality traits?

The following are five personality traits of May’s birthstone.

  • Renewal and growth: The May birthstone embodies the qualities of renewal, growth, and rejuvenation. They are adaptable individuals who embrace change and welcome new beginnings.
  • Love and compassion: May-born individuals love falling in love, making them compassionate and heartfelt. The May birthstone exemplifies affection and romance, supporting the growth of romantic relationships.
  • Fertility and abundance: Those with emeralds as their birthstone convey a sense of prosperity and abundance due to their consistent and jovial energy. Consequently, they proffer an air of luck in various aspects of life, including creativity and personal growth.
  • Clarity and wisdom: The May birthstone’s personality showcases wisdom and clarity of expression. Those wearing the May birthstone are intelligent and rational thinkers who make sound decisions, similar to an emerald’s sharp and captivating green hues.
  • Protection and good fortune: Wearing emeralds offers protection and attracts good fortune. The May birthstone personality carries a sense of security and positive energy that channels the security emeralds exude.

What powers does May’s birthstone have?

May’s birthstone has three special powers to promote compassion, self-development, and new opportunities. Firstly, emeralds have the power to promote love and compassion. This deepens the wearer’s relationships and emotional bonds. Secondly, the birthstone’s power is revitalization and self-development. The vivacious green color of emeralds evokes the arrival of spring, which introduces new beginnings, personal growth, and rejuvenation. Hence, the May birthstone will support your self-growth as you chart a new journey. Thirdly, the power of the May birthstone is the proliferation of new opportunities. Wearing the emerald is a magnet for prosperity and abundance, attracting good people and affable experiences.

Are there benefits to wearing a May birthstone?

Yes, the five main benefits of wearing the May birthstone are enhanced love, renewal, protection, clarity, and positive energy. Emeralds strengthen your heart chakra and are a vestige of love and compassion. Wearing an emerald helps enhance your emotional connection with others and deepen your relationships. The vibrant green color of emeralds is linked to renewal and growth, much like the beginning of spring.

Wearing emerald jewelry is a reminder of a fresh start and personal growth. Emeralds possess a protective quality that promotes spiritual wellness. Wearing emeralds offers protection from negative energies while promoting physical and emotional healing. Emeralds enhance mental clarity and wisdom. Wearing May’s birthstone improves your decision-making skills and sense of certitude. Emeralds promote positive energy and good fortune. Consistently wearing the May birthstone will attract prosperity and positive vibes.

What are the different ways you can wear emeralds?

Four prominent ways to wear emeralds are with rings, bracelets, earrings, and statement necklaces. Wearing emeralds set in gold, silver, or black metals makes the green of May’s birthstone stand out. Bracelets featuring emeralds provide a touch of elegance and can be layered with other gemstones for contrast. Earrings with emeralds draw attention to the face and complement various skin tones and eye colors. Statement necklaces with emeralds act as central pieces of an outfit, showcasing the gemstone’s luxurious hue.

Can you wear emeralds every day?

Yes, you can wear emeralds every day. Emeralds are durable enough to withstand daily wear and complement many staple wardrobe colors. Emeralds are historically associated with Venus, symbolizing eternal youth and love. This association with passion encourages people to wear them to attract these qualities. Moreover, May’s birthstone is believed to soothe the soul, sharpen the mind, and hold the power to foresee the future, providing daily insight and clarity to the wearer. As May’s birthstone, they are said to bring good fortune and health, enriching those who wear them daily.