Properties of the May birthstone: the grounding and protective emerald
- Birthstone color: Green
- Element: Earth
- Planet: Mercury
- Chakra: Heart
- Origin: Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia
Emeralds are a variety of the mineral beryl, making them a close relative of aquamarine, which happens to be one of the two March birthstones. They get their green color from chromium, according to integrative medicine and crystal expert Elizabeth Trattner, AP, DOM, the owner of wellness center The Helia House. What’s more, they are often regarded as precious stones, alongside diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. The gem is commonly sourced from Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia. However, they can also be found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Russia, Australia, and in some areas of the United States.
Birthstone meaning and symbolism of emerald
The name emerald is derived from the Greek word smaragdus for “green,” which is apropos, considering the gem’s verdant hue is one of its most striking features. Referred to as the “jewel of the kings,” it was long beloved by royalty, including Queen Cleopatra, who was said to adorn herself with emeralds and give them as gifts to dignitaries. The ancients also regarded the emerald as a symbol of rebirth and fertility, which is also reflective of the springtime energy of May.
“Emeralds conjure up an image of lush forests and earth goddesses,” says astrologer and spiritual coach Tenae Stewart, author of The Modern Witch’s Guide to Magickal Self-Care. “They can help us channel this grounded, earthy energy within ourselves as well.” When you wear or carry emeralds, they offer a reminder to tune into our physical bodies and focus on the here and now. According to Stewart, calling upon the grounding beauty of the emerald can be particularly helpful “if you’re feeling disconnected, out of your body, and too caught up in mundane realities that feel soul-sucking.”
In Vedic astrology, emeralds are commonly associated with Mercury, Gemini’s ruling planet, which governs communication, intelligence, and reasoning abilities. The gem is thought to help promote clear communication and enhance one’s ability to express themself. This makes it a useful stone for the chatty and quick-witted Gemini, the twins of the zodiac. The emerald can complement these Gemini personality traits while helping them combat overthinking and power through indecision. “This birthstone helps May Geminis ground their energy and calm their active mind,” says astrologist and spiritual teacher Jill Wintersteen, the founder of Spirit Daughter. “It can also help focus their thoughts, making them more impactful as they exchange them with others.”
According to astrologist Rachel Lang, author of Modern Day Magic, emeralds are also associated with planet Venus. “Taurus is Venus’s child, so it’s no surprise that they are sensual, tactile, and sensory-oriented beings,” astrologer Courtney O’Reilly of Vibrant Soul Astrology told Well+Good. Coupled with the fact that Taurus are fixed signs, they are steadfast and reliable, including when it comes to love and relationships. “Emeralds represent stable, heart-centered love and loyal commitments in a relationship,” says Lang, making it ideal for enhancing the characteristics inherent to Taurus.
According to Dr. Trattner, the vibrant green emerald also resonates with the heart chakra or Anahata, which governs all matters of the heart. Emeralds are believed to promote love, compassion, and forgiveness, qualities associated with a healthy heart chakra. Beyond love, “emeralds relate to success and staying the course to overcome challenges,” Lang says. “Even when you don’t have a lot of courage, the emerald can help you keep going strong.”
Alternatives to the May birthstone
May-born Geminis and Taurus can benefit from the energetic properties of other gemstones, too. In addition to emeralds, Geminis can also benefit from agate, chalcedony, and clear quartz. According to Wintersteen, “agate helps to ground their energy and nervous system,” while “chalcedony works to integrate their mind, body, and spirit.” What’s more, the blue-hued chalcedony is beneficial for communicating verbal wisdom—“something Gemini suns love to do,” says Wintersteen. Clear quartz, which is also known as a healing crystal, helps Geminis “shed negative vibrations like gossip” and “align with higher ones that transmit pure communication,” she says.
Taurus can also benefit greatly from opal, green onyx, and jade, each of which have their own energetic properties. Opal, particularly pink opal, can offer Taureans tranquility and peace, says Wintersteen. Much like emerald, green onyx can be a protective crystal, helping shield Taurus’ energy from negativity. “It also lifts them from their comfort zones into new beginnings,” she says. Finally, jade can also bring in energetic protection, as well as usher in all forms of abundance.
What are birthstones?
Birthstones are gemstones that represent a person’s birth month or zodiac sign. Their origins are believed to trace back to biblical times, and the first-century historian Flavius Josephus associated the 12 gemstones on Aaron’s breastplate in the Book of Exodus with the months of the year and the 12 zodiac signs. However, the custom of wearing an individual gem per month didn’t begin until around the 15th or 16th century in Germany or Poland. Birthstones are also found to have origins in Eastern Culture. The Ratna Pariksha, a fifth-century Hindu text, linked specific gems to deities, celestial bodies, and days of the week, while Vedic astrologers recommend certain gems to individuals based on their astrological birth chart.
In 1912, the American Council Association of Jewelers (which is currently known as the Jewelers of America) created a standardized list of birthstones in the United States. This list was updated by the Jewelry Industry Council of America and later by The American Gem Trade Association to include new types of birthstones for certain months of the year.
An overview of the birthstones for every month of the year
Want to pick a crystal that corresponds to your birth month? Here’s a quick overview of the birthstones for every month of the year:
- January Birthstone: Garnet
- February Birthstone: Amethyst
- March Birthstone: Aquamarine and Bloodstone
- April Birthstone: Diamond
- May Birthstone: Emerald
- June Birthstone: Pearl, Alexandrite, and Moonstone
- July Birthstone: Ruby
- August Birthstone: Peridot, Spinel, and Sardonyx
- September Birthstone: Sapphire
- October Birthstone: Opal and Tourmaline
- November Birthstone: Topaz and Citrine
- December Birthstone: Tanzanite, Turquoise, and Zircon
Frequently asked questions about the May birthstone
Does Taurus have two birthstones?
Taurus are associated with several birthstones. Taurus are typically linked with diamonds, the traditional April birthstone, diamonds, as well as emeralds, which is the birthstone for the month of May.
What are Gemini’s two birthstones?
Born in the period of May 21 and June 21, the twin signs canclaim emerald, the May birthstone, or pearl, alexandrite, or moonstone as their birthstones if born in June.
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