May birthstone - Emerald
Emeralds emit the radiant green hue which is characteristic of Spring, making it the perfect birthstone for those born in May. Emeralds can vary in colour, from shades of pale pistachio to deep forest greens, and sometimes include teal or turquoise tones. Historically emeralds have been associated with wealth and fame, often worn by rulers, monarchs and celebrities alike.
The history of emeralds
The name emerald is originally derived from the Persian word meaning “green gem”. They have long been prized for their beauty with emerald mines thought to have existed in Egypt as early as 330 BC. Europeans were first introduced to emeralds when the Spanish invaded South America in the 1500s and are now mainly found in Brazil, Colombia and Zambia. Colombian emeralds are thought to be especially high in quality due to their wonderfully deep, clear green shade.
How they are formed
Emeralds tend to be very rare to obtain due to the way in which they are formed. They are made from a mineral called beryl, which has to meet the perfect temperature and pressure conditions for it to begin to form beautiful emeralds. Typically beryl is found in metamorphic rocks and volcanic deposits and it is the presence of chromium in it which gives the emerald its signature green hue. It is expected that most coloured gemstones will have inclusions and emeralds are no exception to this rule, with the most flawless gems considered incredibly rare and valuable.
Most gemstones tend to be steeped in symbolism and meaning. In mythology, emeralds are considered to be the stone of Venus, the goddess of love. For this reason, this unique gemstone is thought to emit bliss, eternal love and passion. It is also believed that emeralds have an incredible healing power and that they can give the wearer the ability to foresee the future.
Fans of emerald gemstones
Emeralds have long been adored by celebrities, monarchs and rulers alike. Queen Cleopatra and Catherine the Great are believed to have adored the iconic gemstone and would often be seen wearing them in their prized jewellery. Elizabeth Taylor was thought to have acquired some legendary emeralds while filming Cleopatra in Rome, whilst around the same time first lady Jackie Kennedy wore an emerald and diamond engagement ring.
In recent years, fans of the emerald include Hollywood stars such as Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry, Zoe Saldana and Olivia Wilde who are often seen adorning the gem on the red carpet and at glamorous events.
If you were born in May you may be surprised to find there are many other notable birthdays in this star-studded month. George Clooney, Megan Fox, Kylie Minogue and Colin Farrell are just some of the celebrated stars who share the emerald as their birthstone.
Those born in May are thought to be motivated, hardworking and imaginative. You may show a desire for travelling and often prefer not to stay in the same place for a long period of time. As the emerald birthstone is thought to be the gemstone of love, you may also be known for falling in love easily and often enjoy romantic gestures.
What to look for when buying emerald jewellery
Colour is thought to be the most important factor to consider when buying emerald jewellery. The most desired emeralds are those which are saturated and bright, emitting a bluish-green hue. Emeralds, like many other colour gemstones, are graded by eye as they are expected to have numerous inclusions due to the nature in which they are formed. If an emerald has no visible inclusions to the eye it is considered flawless, it is important to note that this is extremely rare and can result in a very highly-priced gemstone. Discover our gemstone guide if you wish to find out more about emeralds and other beautifully coloured gems.