Embracing the vibrant spirit of spring, May brings forth the beauty of the emerald birthstone, a gemstone that embodies nature’s lush hues and timeless elegance. Whether you’re celebrating a May birthday or simply drawn to the gemstone, prepare to be inspired. There are multiple reasons why emeralds have revered throughout time and we’re going to cover that here with everything you need to know about May birthstone rings.
Engagement Ring Inspiration
May Birthstone History
Emerald, the birthstone for May, derives its name from the ancient Greek word “smaragdus,” meaning green stone. Throughout history, emeralds have been prized by various cultures and civilizations. In ancient Egypt, emeralds were associated with fertility and rebirth, believed to bring vitality and eternal youth to the wearer.
Cleopatra, the legendary Egyptian queen, was known for her love of emeralds and often adorned herself with these exquisite green gems. Emerald mining dates back to around 330 BC in Upper Egypt, where Cleopatra’s mines near the Red Sea were believed to be the first emerald mines in the world.
The Incas and Aztecs of South America also revered emeralds, considering them sacred and a symbol of power. Spanish conquistadors were so captivated by the allure of emeralds that they brought vast quantities back to Europe, where these gems quickly found their way into the crowns and jewelry of royalty. The Russian royal family in particular adored the vibrant stone and fit it into all types of jewelry pieces.
Perhaps one of the most iconic of emerald jewelry pieces is the emerald engagement ring gifted to Jackie Kennedy upon her engagement to John F. Kennedy in 1953. The ring featured a 2.84 carat emerald cut emerald and a 2.88 carat emerald cut diamond with marquise cut and round cut diamonds flanking them on the band. The emerald was a departure from the traditional diamond engagement rings of the time and helped solidify Jackie’s status as a style icon with striking taste.
May Birthstone Color, Symbolism, & Alternates
he mesmerizing green color of emeralds is unparalleled in the gemstone world. Ranging from vibrant grass green to deep forest green, emeralds are treasured for their rich, velvety appearance. This captivating green hue is caused by trace amounts of chromium and vanadium within the gemstone.
Colombia has long been hailed as the source of the world's finest emeralds. The country's Muzo and Chivor mines have produced some of the most exceptional green gemstones in history. Colombian emeralds are renowned for their deep, rich color and exceptional clarity, making them quite rare and highly prized among gemstone connoisseurs.
Emeralds symbolize renewal, growth, and prosperity. They are believed to bring harmony, promote healing, and enhance intuition. In ancient times, emeralds were thought to have the power to reveal the truth and protect against evil spells.
For those seeking an alternative to the classic green emerald, you can find options of other gemstones in various shades of green. Chrome diopside, a bright green gemstone, and tsavorite garnet, a vivid green garnet, are popular alternatives to emerald that offer a similar vibrant hue.
May Birthstone Characteristics
Emeralds are cherished not only for their captivating color but also for their exceptional rarity and unique appearance.
With a hardness rating of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, emeralds are relatively soft compared to other gemstones. As a result, they require careful handling and gentle wear. When choosing one for an engagement ring, make sure that you are aware of and you are ready for the extra maintenance required.
Rarity & Origin
The most prized emeralds are sourced from countries such as Colombia, Zambia, and Brazil. Colombian emeralds are renowned for their deep green color and exceptional clarity, making them some of the most valuable emeralds in the world. Zambian emeralds are known for their brilliant, saturated green hues, while Brazilian emeralds often exhibit a slightly yellowish-green color.
The value of an emerald is determined by factors such as color, clarity, size, and origin. The most valuable emeralds boast a pure, vibrant green hue with excellent clarity. Large, clear emeralds with minimal inclusions command high prices in the market because they are such a rarity.
It’s common for emeralds to undergo treatments to enhance their clarity and color. Traditional treatments include oiling, where emeralds are treated with natural oils to fill surface-reaching fissures and improve their appearance. Cedarwood oil is commonly used for this purpose. While treated emeralds are widely accepted, it’s important to inquire about any enhancements when purchasing an emerald to make an informed decision.
Emeralds, being relatively soft gemstones, demand careful handling to preserve their beauty. It's crucial to shield emerald jewelry from harsh chemicals, drastic temperature fluctuations, and extreme heat, as these elements can harm the gemstone. To maintain their luster, regularly clean your emerald jewelry with mild soap and warm water, using a soft brush for gentle cleaning.
Vintage-Inspired Emerald Ring
Shopping for Emeralds
When shopping for an emerald, consider the following factors to ensure you make the perfect choice:
Color: Look for an emerald with a rich, vibrant green hue that appeals to your taste. Consider factors such as tone, saturation, and the presence of secondary colors. The most valuable emeralds have a vivid, pure green color.
Cut: Choose a cut that showcases the emerald’s brilliance and color. Popular cuts for emeralds include emerald, oval, and Asscher. Well-cut emeralds exhibit excellent light reflection and enhance the gemstone’s natural beauty.
Clarity: While emeralds are known for their natural inclusions, seek stones with minimal visible imperfections, particularly when these imperfections are near the center of the stone or in vulnerable areas. Emeralds with good clarity appear nearly transparent to the naked eye, enhancing their overall beauty.
Carat Weight: When selecting an emerald, take into account both your personal preference and budget. It's essential to be mindful that larger, top-quality emeralds, while incredibly rare, come with a higher price due to their exceptional beauty and rarity. And while there may be a larger selection to consider in the carat weight range you want, there quality of the stone is likely to differ greatly.
May Birthstone Engagement Rings
Vibrant and bold emeralds are a stunning choice for engagement rings of any style. Hannah and Isadora offer beautifully classic designs, Hannah with a diamond halo setting on a twisted rope band, and Isadora showcasing a popular flower setting of diamonds around an oval emerald.
If you love a more intricate look, side stone settings offer a big visual impact. Morgana features 3 oval cut emeralds each in their own diamond halo in a timeless three stone setting, while Gracie centers an Asscher cut emerald flanked by pear and round cut diamonds.
And bezel set is an exceptional choice for emeralds, providing a secure setting and protection for the softer stone. Julianne showcases a unique double band of yellow gold securing a stunning oval emerald, and Lucy centers a lovely round emerald on a hammered platinum band.
Emeralds transcend mere gemstones; they embody nature's splendor, rejuvenation, and abundance. The enchanting appeal of emeralds is sure to infuse a May birthstone ring with sophistication and grace, elevating its elegance to unparalleled heights.