Written by Lisa Beauchamp

May Birthstone: Emerald


A birthstone is associated with each month of the year. Various myths and legends refer to the birthstones’ healing powers and therapeutic effects. However in modern times, it makes the selection of jewellery much simpler when personalising a gift.

For those born in May, celebrating late Spring/early Summer, this intensely rich green gemstone is appropriately assigned for the season of birth and rebirth – Emerald.

"emerald ring"


Those fortunate enough to own emeralds are believed to be granted good fortune, youth and insight into the future. Derived from the Greek word “smaragdus” which simply translated means “green”.

Mined in Colombia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Brazil, colours range from light green to a deep, intense green. Treatments are often used to improve the clarity of the gemstone; the colour should be evenly distributed, although emeralds typically feature inclusions.

Just like March’s birthstone, aquamarine, emerald is also a variety of a mineral called beryl. It grows as huge crystals, sometimes they are mined up to a foot long.

Chromium, vanadium and iron are the three trace elements that determine the emerald’s colour.

"emerald stones"

Emerald colours vary from bluish green to pure green. Contrary to popular belief, the most expensive and sought after emeralds are highly transparent.

Although emerald is considered to be a hard gemstone, due to the inclusions and surface reaching fractures, its durability is hindered, and causes the gemstone to be weakened and sometimes break/shatter.

Similar to diamonds, emeralds can be assessed using the 4C’s: colour, clarity, cut and carat weight.

"emerald earrings"

Both Cleopatra and Elizabeth Taylor are known to have cherished emeralds.

The Egyptians were at the forefront of mining emeralds in the 16th century. They linked emeralds to fertility, immortality, rejuvenation and eternal spring.

Modern day emeralds are associated with new beginnings, peace, tranquility, loyalty and security.


Sources: gia.edu, geology.com, americangemsociety.org


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