Emerald: The History, Special Properties and Symbolism of May's Birthstone

Emerald: The History, Special Properties and Symbolism of May's Birthstone

Emerald: The History, Special Properties and Symbolism of May's Birthstone

Emeralds are one of the most sought-after gemstones in the world for their properties, meanings, history and symbolism. Rare and beautiful, emerald jewellery has long been admired by cultures worldwide. Read on to discover everything you need to know about the emerald gemstone. 

Gold Emerald Jewellery


What Is The Birthstone For May?

Emerald is the birthstone for May, known for its stunning green colour. Emerald is a member of the beryl family of minerals and can be found all over the world, including Columbia, Brazil, Zambia and Afghanistan. Emerald's name is derived from the Greek word smaragdus, meaning 'green gem' and is also known as the gemstone for spring. Emerald is commonly given to those who celebrate a May birthday and is also associated with the Taurus zodiac sign.


gold emerald pendant with initial

What Colour Is Emerald?

The colour of an emerald ranges from light green to a deep, rich green. Emerald's appearance is sometimes associated with its mine location. Colombian emeralds have a warmer and more intense green colour. Zambian emeralds generally have a cooler and more bluish-green colour. The most desirable emerald colours are bluish-green to pure green.


Gold Emerald Earrings

Where Are Emeralds Sourced?

Emeralds are sourced all over the world with the centre being in South America. Colombia and Brazil are major producers of emeralds. The second biggest producers of emeralds is Africa with production commonly occurring in Zambia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Other sources of emeralds include China and Afghanistan.  

How Are Emeralds Formed? 

Emeralds are formed deep within the Earth's crust, under high pressure and temperature. The majority of emeralds are formed inside hydrothermal veins, cracks or fractures in rocks that are filled with hot, mineral-rich fluids. These fluids include the elements to form beryl crystals, which provide the emerald with its beautiful green colour.


may birthstone necklace

What Does Emerald Symbolise?

Emerald symbolises rebirth, renewal and growth. Emerald is strongly associated with nature, fertility and abundance. In ancient Egypt, emerald was believed to have magical properties and symbolised rebirth. 

What Are The Healing Properties of Emeralds?

Many believe that emeralds are associated with a number of healing properties such as emotional balance, good communication and mental clarity. 

According to legend, placing an emerald under the tongue provided the ability to predict the future and be protected against evil spells. Traditionally, emerald was also believed to cure diseases such as malaria and cholera. Legend also says that emerald was one of the four precious stones given to God by King Solomon.


sterling silver emerald necklace

What Is The History Of Emerald? 

Emeralds have been treasured throughout history and trade has influenced wars and conquests. Emeralds were mined in Egypt as early as 330BC but it is believed that emeralds are around 2.7 billion years old. Later, during Cleopatra's reign, mining emeralds became part of everyday life. Cleopatra often wore emerald jewellery and she owned all emerald mines in Egypt during her reign. Cleopatra is also believed to have adorned herself and her palace with emeralds and often gifted foreign dignitaries with the green gemstone. It is said that the Pharaoh used emeralds to display her wealth and power. Emeralds also held importance in the afterlife with Egyptians burying monarchs with emerald stones as a symbol of protection. 

Emeralds have also played an important role in the history of Colombia, particularly when sixteenth-century Spanish explorers invaded the New World. The Spanish cherished gold and silver more than gemstones, trading emeralds for precious metals. The invasion opened up the eyes of the Spanish and other Europeans to the world of gemstones and in particular, the lure of emeralds. 


gold emerald locket

What Is The Most Expensive Emerald In The World? 

The most expensive emerald ever sold in the world is the Rockefeller Emerald. The beautiful green gem was sold at auction in 2017 for $305 million. The emerald is an 18.04-carat Colombian emerald that was previously owned by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. The emerald is well known for its deep green colour and incredible clarity. Generally, Colombian emeralds command the highest prices - sometimes $100,000 per carat or more. Another well known emerald is Elizabeth Taylor's emerald pendant which sold for $6,578,500 in 2011. 

What Is The Emerald Anniversary? 

Emerald is strongly associated with the 55th wedding anniversary. A rare gem such as emerald is the perfect stone to celebrate such a rare occasion. Emerald earrings, necklaces, rings and lockets are commonly gifted to celebrate the 55th wedding anniversary. Emerald also represents the 20th and 35th anniversaries. 


gold emerald pendant

What Colours Go with Emerald? 

A rich green colour, emerald is the epitome of luxury and sophistication. Emerald symbolises prestige and elegance whilst gold represents success and glamour. An emerald gold necklace is the perfect way to make a bold statement. Silver is also often wore with emerald, the cool tone of the silver beautifully compliments the warmth of the emerald gemstone. Rose gold and white gold also compliment emeralds, particularly in jewellery.


gold emerald bangle

Lily Blanche Emeralds

At Lily Blanche, we only use genuine gemstones. Our emeralds are real emeralds beautifully cut into facets to show off the colour and quality of the stone. Choose from our emerald necklaces, emerald locketsemerald earrings and bangles. Our range of emerald jewellery is perfect for gifting to a May baby or as a treat for yourself. 


silver emerald pendant


Need inspiration? Shop our collection of Emerald Jewellery to find the perfect gift.

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