Emerald: The Elegant Green Birthstone Of May

Emerald encapsulates the luscious greens of spring and summer in an elegant stone admired by the likes of Cleopatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and the Roman goddess Venus! This vibrant green gem the perfect birthstone for May! 

Emerald has long been a symbol of love and fertility, and is the gemstone for the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries. A perfect symbol stone for creating a custom ring that represents the love and bond between you and someone you love! 

"Azalea" Emerald Engagement Ring With Diamond Accents

History & Lore

Emerald has been used for thousands of years by many cultures, religions, and peoples dating back to the Ancient Egyptians:

  • Cleopatra was known to have a passion for Emeralds and often used them in jewelry and gifts.
  • Inca and Peruvians of Mesoamerica used Emeralds in ceremonies and jewelry.
  • Some Arab, Spanish, and Hindu physicians used emerald for medicinal purposes.
  • Emerald is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments of The Bible
  • Ancient Indian tales speak of legendary cities made of emeralds

Emeralds have been used to name cities, referenced in pop culture, and worn by  celebrities all over the world:

  • Seattle, Washington is known as the “Emerald City” because of its greenery and evergreen trees
  • Ireland is called the “Emerald Isle” for its lush green landscapes
  • The Emerald City of The Wizard of Oz is a magical city at the end of the yellow brick road, which features a palace encrusted in emeralds
  • Emerald is used as currency in the famous Microsoft game “Minecraft”. 
  • Emerald was Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year
  • Emerald jewelry has famously been worn by:
    • Jackie Kennedy
    • Halle Berry
    • Angelina Jolie
    • Beyonce Knowles
    • Elizabeth Taylor

Emeralds have fascinated people from both ancient and modern times for its luxurious color, which some provide metaphysical/spiritual benefits. The following is based on folklore and spiritual beliefs, not medical or scientific facts, and is not intended to serve as medical advice, treatment, or fact:

  • Emerald provides calming effects and rejuvenating properties to the eyes of those who gaze upon the stone, especially those experiencing eye strain and weariness 
  • Emerald can reveal the intentions and truth of a lover 
  • Emerald can bring abundance (money, knowledge, love) to the wearer 

Stone Description & Sourcing

Emerald belongs to the beryl family along with other gems such as aquamarine and morganite. The difference is in the color - emerald is beryl with a vibrant green or blue-green color. This green color comes from the presence of chromium and/or vanadium in the beryl mineral, a rarely occurring combination in nature. The green color must be vibrant to classify beryl as emerald. Light green specimens instead are called green beryl. Emerald grows hexagon crystals which makes the "emerald-cut" especially great for showing off the beauty of emerald, although other cuts can also be used with beautiful results. Natural emerald contains internal inclusions that are called “jardin”, a French word meaning garden. It is very rare to find perfect emeralds without inclusions unless the stone is lab-grown. Fortunately, these inclusions don’t typically affect the stone's value unless the inclusions significantly affect the appearance and clarity of the stone.

Natural emerald can mainly be found in: 

  • Africa 
    • Zambia, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe
  • Southern America 
    • Colombia and Brazil
  • Russia
  • Occasionally North America
    • U.S. and Canada

Emerald can also be lab-grown. We create many of our rings with lab-grown Chatham emeralds like the one pictured below unless a natural emerald is specifically requested. While beryl/emerald ranks 7.5-8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, the jardin in natural emeralds can make natural emeralds less durable than lab-grown emeralds. Lab-grown emeralds have nearly perfect clarity and help avoid conflict emeralds, unethical mining, and environmental effects of mining while costing only a fraction of the price of natural mined emeralds. Lab-grown gems are still the real deal and have the same chemical and physical makeup as natural stones. These stones are essentially created with a sped-up process of nature, and the difference can only be seen under a loop! Durability, clarity, and low cost are all perks of lab-grown emeralds! 

"Laverna" Emerald Engagement Ring With Diamond Accents


Emerald Care and Cleaning

Ranking a 7.5-8 (fair-good) on the Mohs hardness scale, emerald is fit for regular use and wear as long as proper care is taken. However, while the toughness as far as the ease of scratching is fair-good, it can be more brittle than other gemstones, so care must be taken to avoid bumping or chipping the stone on hard objects/surfaces, especially if it is a natural emerald with internal inclusions. Not only does the emerald cut shown below showcase the beautiful color of emerald, but it also is an ideal cut for minimizing chipping in the stone!

"May" Emerald Engagement Ring With Diamond Accents

Store emerald jewelry away from other jewelry that could cause scratching and remove emerald or any other jewelry before:

  • Going to the gym, doing manual labor, washing dishes, showering, etc.
  • Participating in any other activity that could pose a risk to the ring and the safety of your fingers


Ultrasonic cleaners or steam should not be used to clean emeralds as heat can alter the appearance of the stone and could cause internal inclusions or fractures to expand. Instead, use warm soapy water and a soft brush or cloth to clean the stone gently. 

Click here to visit our Care Guidelines page for more information about ring care.


Creating an Engagement Ring With Emerald

Whether you or someone special to you was born in May, you’re celebrating a special anniversary, or you are just looking for something elegant, emerald is an excellent choice for a center stone in a custom ring. Click here to view our emerald engagement rings, or work with our custom design team to design your own!