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May Birthstone – Emerald

Brief Guide to May Birthstone

Emerald is the May birthstone. The emerald is a green that brings to mind the colors of spring. Emerald is said to represent hope, success and rebirth.

The emerald is the green variety of the mineral beryl. The green color is due to chromium and iron impurities. Emerald has a perfect six-sided crystal structure. Emerald can be scratched easily and should not be worn every day as a ring or bracelet.

Emeralds from Colombia are the best in the world. The deep green color reflects the jungles in which it is found. The Colombian emerald industry has on average 60% of the emerald market.

May is one of those on-the-cusp months, with everyone either looking forward to, or dreading the beginning of summer. For many, it is a time to bring the bathing suits out of mothballs and begin enjoying the months of the year when fun and activity can be had out in the full view of the sun. For others, May is a time of doing a top-to-bottom house cleaning, clearing out the dust of Winter and Spring and preparing the home for another year of happiness and warmth. May is home to Memorial Day, when Americans celebrate and remember those brave soldiers who died in combat to protect our freedoms. Here is a look at the birthstones of May.

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May Modern and Traditional Birthstone

Conjuring thoughts of the beautiful city at the end of the yellow brick road, the emerald is one of the most elegant and beautiful of all the gems. With its green color and exceptional sparkle, the emerald has taken its place as one of the top three or four most popular jewels on earth. People as far back as ancient Egypt were known to use the beautiful emerald in their ceremonies and burials. They were even known to engrave these jewels with symbols of foliage to make a full representation of the color green and its reminiscence of the new rebirth and renewal for the earth, and for an individual. Cleopatra was particularly fond of the emerald, and claimed the Egyptian emerald mines for herself during her reign. She adorned herself with the jewels whenever possible and even gave them as gifts to visiting royalty from other lands. Agate is also sometimes used as the traditional birthstone of May.

May Alternate Birthstone

With a creamier, cloudier green than its cousin the emerald, chrysoprase has made a splendid, less expensive alternative for the April birthstone of choice. Like many of the alternative birthstones, it is a member of the quartz family, and is known for its apple green color, given to it by its high quantities of the mineral nickel. Like the emerald, its history is rich, and it was known to be used in jewelry and ceremony by the ancient Egyptians, as well as the Greeks and the Romans. Because of their similar colors, it is not uncommon for the chrysoprase to be confused with Imperial jadeite.

Birthstone Overview

The May birthstone is the emerald. If you were born in May then this gorgeous green stone will bring luck to its wearer in the month of May and just looks great reagardless of the month. Some people wear their may birthstone on pendants, others on rings or earrings, others simply keep them in a nice display.

Below is a good article on the emerald and some history of the may birthstone. If you want to add to your emarald collection you can find the gems ranging from rough stones (on ebay) to semi-precious to beautifully colored and cut gems that rival diamonds for beauty and in price.

May's Birthstone: Emerald

Birthstone Properties: Symbolizes serenity and peace of mind.

Alternative Birthstone: Sapphire

Emerald is the birthstone for May and also the anniversary gemstone for the 20th and 35th years of marriage. Some people believe wearing an emerald brings wisdom, growth…patience. It is perhaps this last attribute that may explain why a gift of emerald for an anniversary -- or any occasion -- is symbolic of love and fidelity.

All Eyes on Emeralds: Emeralds were once prescribed for eye diseases because the green color was believed to be soothing to the eyes. Early stone cutters kept emeralds at their tables to gaze upon as a way to give their eyes a break. Even 21st Century color specialists agree that green is soothing, restful, and relaxing for the eyes.

Today's versatile emeralds continue to be "easy on the eyes," used in earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and other body adornment.

The Color of Spring: An emerald shines like green lightning, filling us with the same wonder as the civilizations that came before us. Ancient Egyptians mined emeralds in the eastern desert region 2,000 years before Cleopatra's birth, yet today recent finds in North Carolina may provide a new source for quality emeralds in the U.S. Colombia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Madagascar, Nigeria, and Russia are where most emeralds are mined in the 21st Century.

May's birthstone seems perfectly suited to the rites of Spring, matching the colors of the season with its own bottomless green. In fact, the Egyptians engraved emeralds with symbols for Spring foliage to represent eternal youth, and then buried the jewels with their dead.

Elsewhere in the ancient world, the Romans associated emeralds with fertility and the rebirth brought about each Spring. Nero, it's said, watched the gladiators through emerald glasses

The Incas worshiped emeralds…as long as they could. In the 1500's, they were invaded by Spanish Conquistadors who stole their gemstones and pillaged their mines. As a result, many of the world's most magnificent emeralds were lost at the bottom of the sea inside shipwrecked Spanish galleons.

It's Not Easy Being Green: The word "emerald" is a variation of the Greek word "smaragdos," which means "green stone"…perfectly appropriate for a gemstone that is, in fact, the green variety of the mineral beryl. Emeralds range from strong bluish-green to green hues, although some emeralds have a slightly yellowish green.

If the hue is too yellow…or too blue…it loses its "emerald" status and is simply a different variety of beryl. Colombian emeralds are generally agreed to be among the most beautiful gemstones in the world, with a grass-green coloring highlighted by a touch of blue.