What is the May Birthstone?

by Emily Wilkinson

May brings the resurgence of greenery, blooms, and all things that are reminiscent of spring. It’s only fitting that the birthstone for May is Emerald, a beautiful green hue that evokes revival and renewal. Emerald has been beloved for centuries, capturing the hearts and minds through the ages. Let’s examine the history of the Emerald and the meaning behind this beautiful green gemstone.

May’s birthstone has been revered all across the world for millennia. This gemstone gets its name from the ancient Greek word for green, “smaragdus.” Emerald was the preferred gemstone of Cleopatra in Egypt and they were largely mined in Egypt from 330BC to the 1700s. Today, Colombia is the largest supplier of Emeralds and is responsible for 60% of the world’s production. They are also mined in Zimbabwe, Brazil, and India, and Zambia.

Emeralds can range in their green hue – from deep rich greens to pale light greens. There are a few ways they achieve their color. The gemstone gets its color from impurities of chromium and vanadium. These chemical components determine how richly green the color will appear. Sometimes iron can also have a hand in changing the color of an emerald. Because of the way these beautiful gemstones are formed, they often have inclusions and impurities. It is nearly impossible to find a natural emerald with no inclusions at all, but those with fewer inclusions will be priced higher. This gemstone rates between a 7 and 8 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it pretty durable and scratch-resistant, but shouldn’t be worn daily to prevent damage to them.

It is said that the emerald provides prosperity and growth and is a symbol of unconditional love. There are a lot of examples through human history that depict emeralds being used as a form of medicine and spiritual guidance. Green is also the symbolic color of fertility. It’s no coincidence that early Romans gave emeralds as gifts to young wives. It’s a popular push present for new mothers in present day. In addition to being a great “push” present, it is the traditional gift for 20th and 55th anniversary.

Emeralds certainly are eye-catching and make the perfect gift to celebrate any big occasion -from birthdays to anniversaries and any significant milestone. Stop into any of our Schwarzschild Jewelers stores in Richmond and Charlottesville, Virginia.