The birthstone for May is the beautifully vibrant emerald. Emeralds have historically been associated with fame and wealth, having been worn and cherished by many monarchs, rulers and celebrities from Cleopatra to Elizabeth Taylor. Loved for its vivid green hues, an emerald can vary from shades of pale pistachio to deeper greens, and, very rarely, tones of teal and turquoise.
A fascination with the stone spans centuries. In ancient Greece and Rome, emeralds were said to be the gemstone of Venus, goddess of love and hope. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the world, emeralds were cherished by the Incas and thought to be a source of eternal life by the Egyptians.
Today, the iconic green of May’s birthstone holds different meanings. Emeralds with a softer, more soothing tone are said to represent loyalty and peace, whilst those with deeper greens are said to represent happy beginnings or new life in nature – making it the perfect spring stone.
With proper care, emeralds can retain their beauty for generations. Easy to maintain with long-lasting beauty, emerald jewellery makes the perfect gift to any May-born Taureans or Geminis, or anyone close to you as they symbolise truth, love and hope.
Putting a contemporary twist on emerald jewellery, our bestselling Mini Halo Hoop earrings are lined with bursts of emerald gems for easy-to-wear, colourful opulence.
Stories of the Stone
During Cleopatra’s reign, the queen was allegedly adorned in emeralds day and night. When visiting dignitaries left Egypt, she would present them with her likeness carved into large emeralds. A once lost mine of Cleopatra’s emeralds, gifted to her by the Greeks, has been discovered in the years since she ruled.
Elizabeth Taylor, who incidentally and famously played Cleopatra, shared a passion for the gem, with her iconic emerald pendant selling in 2011 for $6.5 million.
The emerald takes its name from the ancient Greek ‘smaragdus’ which literally translates as ‘green’, a word which was in turn derived from from the Semitic ‘baraq’, meaning ‘shine’.
Discover your birthstone and its meaning with our Birthstone Guide.
Or explore more gemstones with our Gemstone Guide.