May is when spring has finally sprung, and bright green blankets the outdoors. So, it’s only fitting the vibrant green emerald is May’s birthstone.
May birthstone history
Emeralds have been prized for their beauty since antiquity—emerald mines existed in Egypt as early as 300 BC, and these gorgeous green gems were worn as jewelry in ancient Greece and Rome. Europeans were introduced to the beauty of emeralds in the 1500s when the Spanish invaded South America, where the Incas had prized emeralds for hundreds of years. During that same period, emeralds were cherished by the Mogul emperors of India, who believed that the gems were talismans that offered the protection of the gods.
Like many gemstones, emeralds have a multitude of meanings stemming from different cultures and beliefs. In mythology, emerald is the stone of the goddess Venus, resulting in the association of emeralds with romance. Emeralds are said to bring passion, bliss, and unconditional love! Legend has it that wearing emeralds can give you the ability to foresee the future and see the truth. It has also been believed that emerald has the power to cure disease and protect against evil.
EMERALDS’ FAMOUS FANS
Cleopatra had a passion for emerald jewelry, as did Elizabeth Taylor, who acquired some legendary emeralds while filming Cleopatra in Rome (lover Richard Burton bought it for her at Bulgari). Around the same time, glamorous first lady Jackie Kennedy wore an emerald and diamond engagement ring. And an emerald engagement ring was at the center of the twentieth century’s most legendary love story, when in 1936 King Edward VIII of England proposed to his divorced American love Wallis Simpson with a nineteen carat emerald ring engraved with the message “We are ours now.” The ensuing scandal caused him to abdicate the throne, making the couple the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
Today, Angelina Jolie may be emeralds’ most famous advocate. She frequently wears these gorgeous green gems on the red carpet. Other very stylish Hollywood stars, including Halle Berry, Zoe Saldana, and Olivia Wilde wear gorgeous emerald engagement rings.
CARING FOR EMERALDS
Only use mild soap and warm water to clean emeralds, and not techniques involving steam, chemicals or high heat, because they can cause the gem to fracture. Emeralds are generally treated with cedar oil to minimize the appearance of their inclusions. When done right, this does not affect the way light interacts with the gem or change its color in any way.
If you are a May birthday girl, are shopping for one, or just love emeralds, you can Create Your Own Emerald Ring by selecting one of our vibrant ethical origin emeralds and pairing it with your favorite ring setting. We also carry stunning vintage emerald rings and jewelry.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON MAY BIRTHSTONES