What is Emerald: Birthstone Guide

What is Emerald: Birthstone Guide

What is Garnet: Birthstone Guide

What Does the Emerald Birthstone Mean?

The month of May transitions us into the thriving days of summer. The vibrant green birthstone emerald reflects the vitality of this time of year. The elegant emerald has stood the test of time as one of the oldest known gemstones on earth.

The birthstone emerald symbolizes:

  • Renewal and growth
  • Unity, faithfulness, and compassion
  • Insight into the future

Emerald Shades and Varieties

Emeralds are only found in bluish-green to pure green hues. Their original Greek name, "smaragdos," plainly means "green stone." Emeralds are a species of beryl closely related to March’s birthstone, aquamarine. The emerald is also the only gemstone that is a name for a gemstone cut style.

At Zales most of our emeralds are lab-created. Lab-created gemstones are as real as gemstones found in nature, only they are grown in controlled spaces by specialists. Natural gemstones are more likely to have imperfections and inclusions, so jewelers lab-create gemstones to guarantee consistent color and clarity.

Sea Green

Jade Green

Forest Green

Verdant Green

Emeralds in History

Gemstones are the subject of many legends and myths and have been prized by famous peoples and cultures throughout time. The earliest emerald mines were in ancient Egypt, but today emeralds primarily come from African, South American, and Asian countries like Zambia, Brazil, and China. Discover the unique history of the birthstone emerald.

The oldest known emerald specimens are almost 3 billion years old

The legendary “lost city” of El Dorado included emeralds among its rumored treasures

In Hinduism, emeralds are associated with Krishna, the deity of love

Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor was famous for her collection of emerald jewelry

Emerald Care

Emeralds are durable and resistant to damage. However, high heat and vibration can damage and even crack your gemstone, so avoid ultrasonic cleaning. Emeralds should be stored separately to avoid scratching or being scratched. Store them in a lined box or a soft pouch. Keep your emerald birthstone jewelry sparkling by cleaning it under warm running water with a mild soap.

How Does Your Birthstone Hold Up?

Jewelers use a tool called the Mohs Hardness Scale to rate a gemstone’s general resistance to scratching. Gemstones are ranked from 1 to 10 on the scale, diamonds are the hardest at 10 — just remember higher gemstones are more durable while lower gemstones need a little more protection and care.

Shop Emerald Jewelry

Explore jewelry for the May birthstone, emerald. Emeralds exude elegance in regal necklaces and are a refined beauty in rings surrounded by gold and sterling silver. Shop our incredible collection of emerald rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets to find the look that’s just your style.

Emerald Rings

May’s birthstone is a complete original set in luxurious gold and sterling silver. Explore emerald birthstone rings with unique style.


Emerald Earrings

Embrace the elegance of May’s birthstone. Discover emerald earrings that gleam in hoops, studs, and drop earring styles.


Emerald Necklaces

The vibrant May birthstone has been a treasure throughout history. Find the perfect emerald birthstone necklace to keep close to your heart.


Emerald Bracelets

Your style thrives with the lush beauty of May’s birthstone. Explore emerald bracelets in delicate chain styles and intricate gemstone creations.


Emerald Sets

Incorporate the May birthstone of faithfulness and growth into your jewelry collection. Enjoy the stately green gemstone in emerald sets featuring your favorite jewelry.


Speak to a Jewelry Expert

In-person, chat session, or phone call — we’re here to help you find your perfect gemstone.

Related Topics

Learn more about gemstones, settings, and styles at Zales.

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