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Is May birthstone green?

Is May birthstone green?

Quick Answer

The May birthstone is emerald, which is a green gemstone. So the May birthstone is green in color. Emerald is the traditional and modern birthstone for the month of May.

What is the May Birthstone?

The May birthstone is emerald. Emerald is a green colored gemstone that has been associated with the month of May for centuries. Some key facts about the May birthstone emerald:

  • Color: Emerald is a rich, deep green color. This vibrant green hue is the defining characteristic of emeralds.
  • Composition: Emeralds are a form of the mineral beryl. The green color comes from trace amounts of chromium and/or vanadium.
  • Sources: The top sources for emerald are Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, Zimbabwe, and Russia. Emeralds form in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks.
  • Hardness: On the Mohs hardness scale, emerald has a rating of 7.5 to 8, making it a durable stone suitable for jewelry.
  • Clarity: Emeralds often have inclusions, so eye-clean specimens are rare. Inclusions are expected and do not negatively impact the value.

In addition to its vibrant green color, emerald is also renowned for its mystical and healing properties. It was cherished by many ancient civilizations, including the Incas, Aztecs, and Egyptians. Today, it remains one of the most coveted, illustrious gems.

History of Emerald as a May Birthstone

The tradition of emerald as the May birthstone dates back many centuries. Here is a look at the history of emerald as the birthstone for May:

  • Ancient Romans: The Roman scholar Pliny the Elder described emerald’s connection to the goddess Venus, who was associated with the month of May.
  • Middle Ages: In early Medieval Europe, people believed wearing emerald could ward off evil spells and cure illnesses. It was used in amulets and other jewelry.
  • Georgian Period: In the 18th century, emerald was established as the official May birthstone in Britain. Queen Victoria further popularized May emerald jewelry.
  • Modern Birthstones: In 1912, the American National Association of Jewelers formally adopted emerald as the official birthstone for May.
  • Present Day: Emerald remains the birthstone for May on nearly all modern birthstone charts. It shares the distinction with chrysoprase in some alternative listings.

So although the specific legends and meanings have evolved over the centuries, emerald has long been associated with the month of May and those born in this month.

Emerald and the Zodiac

In addition to being the traditional May birthstone, emerald is also associated with Taurus, the astrological sign that falls partly in May.

Here’s a quick look at the connection between emerald and Taurus:

  • Dates: Taurus dates are April 20 – May 20. It overlaps with the month of May.
  • Planet: Venus, the goddess connected to emerald, rules over Taurus.
  • Traits: As a Venus-ruled sign, Taurus is associated with beauty, luxuries, and wealth – all embodied in emerald’s lush green radiance.
  • Meaning: For Taureans, emerald is said to inspire success, harmony, and balance in life.

The shared Venus influence between emerald and Taurus makes them a fitting and synergistic combination.

May Birthstone Color Meaning

The vivid green color of emerald has a special symbolic meaning. Here’s an overview of what the May birthstone’s green hue represents:

  • Growth & Life: The verdant green of emerald evokes the fresh growth of springtime. It’s the color of new beginnings.
  • Healing: Throughout history, emerald’s restorative green color has been thought to have healing powers for physical and emotional health.
  • Wisdom: Green is connected to the heart chakra and higher consciousness. Emerald green is said to help open the mind to wisdom.
  • Serenity: Lush emerald green has a soothing, peaceful quality. It provides tranquility and relaxation.
  • Prosperity: In many cultures, the vibrant green of emerald symbolized prosperity and abundance.

So for the May birthstone, green is the color of life, healing, insight, calmness, and good fortune. It provides meaning and depth to emerald’s mystique.

Geographic Sources of Emerald

Here is an overview of the top locations where natural emeralds are mined from around the world:

Country Notable Emerald Deposits
Colombia Muzo, Coscuez, Chivor
Zambia Kafubu, Lufwanyama, Kagem
Brazil Itabira, Campo Formoso, Piteiras
Zimbabwe Sandawana
Russia Malysheva, Takowaya
Pakistan Swat Valley
Afghanistan Panjshir Valley
Ethiopia Shakiso

Colombia is the world’s leading source for high-quality emeralds, accounting for the majority of natural emerald production globally. But many other countries also contribute to the worldwide output of the May birthstone.

Synthetic Emeralds

In addition to natural emeralds, synthetic (laboratory-created) emeralds also exist. Here are some key facts about synthetic emeralds:

  • Synthetic emeralds have the same chemical composition as natural emeralds but are created in a lab.
  • The first synthetic emeralds were produced in the 1830s by chemist Charles Feil by replicating the conditions in which natural emeralds form.
  • Today, hydrothermal synthesis methods are often used to grow synthetic emerald crystals.
  • Synthetic emeralds tend to have fewer inclusions and flaws than natural emeralds.
  • Synthetics can provide a more affordable alternative to scarce natural emeralds but lack the prestige and value of genuine emeralds.

While synthetic emeralds have a place in the market, natural emeralds from trusted sources remain far more precious and coveted by collectors and consumers.

How to Evaluate Emerald Quality

When evaluating the quality of emerald gemstones, here are the main factors to look for:

  • Color – The vividness and hue of green should be rich and vibrant but not too dark.
  • Clarity – Eye-clean emeralds are rare. Minor to moderate inclusions are expected. Avoid murky stones.
  • Cut – Cut for brilliance but also to protect vulnerable areas. Step cuts like the emerald cut show color best.
  • Carat – Emeralds are available in sizes from tiny to very large. Value increases exponentially with carat size.
  • Source – Origin from a reputable mine like Colombia can ensure authenticity and top quality.
  • Treatments – Many emeralds are oiled or resin-filled to minimize the appearance of flaws. Determine if any treatments were used.

By examining these key factors, you can evaluate the quality of emerald gemstones and find May birthstone jewelry of the finest grade.

Emerald Jewelry Styles

Emerald makes beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewelry perfect for May birthdays. Here are some of the most popular styles of emerald jewelry:

  • Pendant necklaces – Showcase an emerald solitaire or small cluster as a pendant suspended from a delicate chain.
  • Earrings – From sophisticated studs to dazzling drops, emerald earrings frame the face with green sparkle.
  • Rings – Emerald rings like engagement rings and eternity bands provide eye-catching green elegance.
  • Bracelets – Row bracelets lined with emerald beads or tennis bracelets of emerald gems deliver sophisticated style.
  • Statement necklaces – Make bold green statements with emerald-adorned bibs, chokers, and dramatic pendants.

The unique verdant color of emerald allows for so many artistic jewelry expressions. The gem’s regal yet natural ambiance suits personal jewelry tastes from classic to contemporary.

How to Care for Emerald Jewelry

While durable, emerald jewelry still requires some special care. Here are tips for keeping emeralds sparkling:

  • Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasives. Even mild soap can damage emerald.
  • Clean with a soft cloth and warm water. Ultrasonic or steam cleaning is usually safe if done gently.
  • Store emerald separately from other gems to prevent scratching. Use soft cloth pouches or boxes.
  • Remove emerald jewelry before physical activities. Protect it from sharp blows that can chip the stone.
  • Avoid drastic temperature changes. Heat and cold can cause fractures in emerald.

With proper care and respect for its delicate nature, emerald jewelry can remain in excellent condition to be treasured and enjoyed for many years.

Alternative May Birthstones

While emerald is recognized as the primary modern birthstone for May, some alternative gemstones for May also exist. These include:

  • Chrysoprase – A transparent to translucent variety of chalcedony that ranges from pale green to deep green colors.
  • Rainbow fluorite – Exhibits multiple shades of green in addition to other colors like yellow, purple, and blue.
  • Green opal – Displays vivid flashes of green color play.
  • Tsavorite – A variety of grossularite garnet that has an intense green color.
  • Green tourmaline – The vibrant green hues of this gem can resemble fine emerald.

While these alternate May gems have their own appeal, emerald remains the foremost birthstone choice for May. Its rich symbolism and spectacular beauty make it a quintessential representation of those born in this springtime month.


With its exquisite green color, emerald has endured as the traditional and contemporary May birthstone. Its evocation of life and growth epitomizes the verdant beauty of springtime. The long history of emerald combined with its stunning clarity and color make it the definitive gemstone for people born in May. So for all those whose birthdays fall in this month, lucky emerald makes a perfect gem to commemorate each annual milestone. Whether set in precious keepsakes or presented in brilliant designer jewelry, emerald will continue to enchant May babies for perpetuity.