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Enchanting Emerald: Exploring May’s Iconic Birthstone

Enchanting Emerald

As one of the ‘big four’ precious gemstones – alongside diamond, sapphire, and ruby – May’s birthstone, emerald, is one of the most valuable gems on earth. Evoking fresh green shoots, it’s the perfect gem for springtime. From mythical jewels to contemporary red carpets, emerald captures our hearts and imaginations. In this article we delve into the world of emeralds, uncovering their fascinating history, symbolism, what to look for when purchasing and how to wear it.


Enchanting Emerald

Emerald: Meaning and Symbolism

Like all precious gemstones, emeralds are believed to possess healing qualities. Associated with the heart chakra, they’re said to promote love, compassion, and healing. Their vivid green colour is said to have a calming, soothing effect, while symbolising growth and renewal. Throughout history, emeralds were thought to enhance intelligence and wit, empowering their wearers with clarity and insight. Green is also the symbolic colour of fertility.

What Your Birthstone Says About You

Those born in May are often described as having traits like vitality and youthfulness. They are believed to possess qualities of resilience making them optimistic and hopeful.

Fascinating Facts About Emeralds

  • Emerald measures between 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs Scale of hardness
  • Emerald is a beryl gemstone
  • The word “emerald” comes from the Greek smaragdus meaning “green”
  • South America is the centre of the world’s emerald mining with Colombia the major producer
  • Other countries that produce emeralds include Zambia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan
  • The oldest emerald ever discovered is about 2.97 billion years old
  • Some emeralds grow to impressive sizes, with the largest crystal weighing a staggering 16,020 carats
  • Emerald is also the official anniversary gem for both the 20th and 55th wedding anniversaries

Buying Emerald: How is it graded?

The 4 C’s

Emerald is graded using the ‘4 C’s’ (cut, colour, clarity, and carat) in the same way diamonds are graded. With emerald, the most important of the ‘C’s’ is colour.


The best colour is vivid green/blueish green with even saturation and no colour zoning.


Cutting an emerald into the optimal shape with the right number of facets can make a difference to the emerald’s colour. The mark of a good cut is an even green colour. Historically emeralds are cut into their namesake ‘emerald cut’ which prevents the emerald breaking. Other cuts such as cushion and oval are also possible but less popular.


Emeralds typically contain inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. Eye-clean emeralds are precious because they’re so rare.


The price per carat escalates in size. For example, a fine quality 3ct Colombian Emerald is six times more valuable than three 1ct stones of equivalent quality.
Top quality emeralds can be worth more than diamonds on a per carat basis.

Emeralds throughout History

Civilizations throughout history revered emeralds for their vivid green radiance. From the sacred beliefs of the Incas and Aztecs to the treasures found in ancient Egyptian tombs, emeralds have adorned the elite and the divine. The first known mines were in Egypt, dating from at least 330 BC into the 1700s. Queen Cleopatra had a passion for Emerald and many emeralds have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs. Legends from ancient Greek mythology to the Roman Empire also attribute great powers to these enchanting gems.

Emeralds on the Red Carpet

Jackie Kennedy, Grace Kelly, and Queen Elizabeth II have all been known for their love of emerald jewellery.
In a case of life imitating art, Elizabeth Taylor was famously gifted an exquisite suite of Bulgari emeralds by Richard Burton, while they were filming Cleopatra in Italy (Cleopatra, as we know, wore emeralds). With 16 Colombian emeralds with a weight of 60.5 carats in the necklace alone, Taylor wore the suite throughout her life. After her death, her jewellery collection was famously auctioned at Christies where her Bulgari Emerald Necklace realised $6,130,500 (bought back by Bulgari).
In more recent times, Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé and Juliane Moore have all famously worn emerald on the red carpet to dazzling effect.

How to Wear Your Emerald Birthstone

Wearing your birthstone can be a meaningful way to celebrate your birth month and embrace its symbolism. Emerald jewellery, whether in the form of earrings, necklaces, or rings, adds a touch of sophistication and individuality to any outfit. Whether worn as a statement piece or as a subtle accent, the May birthstone is cherished for its timeless appeal and colourful allure.
Let’s dive into our pick of exceptional emerald jewellery, perfect for anyone with a birthday this May.

Emerald Stud Earrings

Exquisite Emerald Stud Earrings add a captivating burst of colour to any ensemble. Crafted with simplicity in mind, our 9ct Gold Emerald Single Rubover set Studs allow the vibrant emerald to take centre stage, encased in a sleek rubover setting.
For an alternative shape, our Pear Shape Emerald Studs feature emeralds with a total weight of 0.41ct in a contemporary, 18ct gold rubover setting.9ct Yellow Gold Emerald Studs and 18ct Pear Stud Earrings

For a striking contrast, consider our Circular Emerald & Diamond Cluster Earrings, exuding a retro vintage charm. Set in luxurious 18ct white gold, each round emerald is surrounded by a dazzling halo of brilliant cut diamonds. Similarly, our Circular Emerald & Diamond Studs feature a captivating diamond centre, encircled by four marquise emeralds in an exquisite 18ct white gold setting.

18ct White Gold Emerald & Diamond Cluster Earrings and Marquise Circle Stud Earrings

If you’re looking for a unique twist, our Two Stone Emerald & Diamond Studs combine an oval emerald with a brilliant cut diamond, flawlessly claw-set in radiant 18ct yellow gold, for a look that’s both refined and elegant.


Emerald Pendants & Necklaces

Necklace designs in emerald range from timeless and traditional pendants to contemporary and modern necklaces.
For those who appreciate clean lines and understated elegance, our Rubover set Emerald Pendant in warm 9ct yellow gold is a beautiful option.


For a more traditional look, opt for our classic 18ct Yellow Gold Emerald & Diamond Pendant. Combining a stunning 0.61ct pear shaped emerald accented with almost a quarter of a carat of diamonds, it’s a captivating piece.


If you’re seeking a design that transcends trends, the pared back beauty of this fabulous Emerald & Diamond Pendant ensures it will never go out of style. A pear-shaped emerald and a pear-shaped diamond are set point to point. The contrasting yellow gold setting for the emerald and white gold for the diamond enhances the allure of these exquisite gemstones, while the elegant silhouette created by the freely running chain adds to its sophistication.


As an alternative to a pendant, our beautiful Curved Emerald & Diamond Line Necklace is a stunning choice. Set in opulent 18ct white gold, alternating diamonds and emeralds sit side by side creating a striking display of vibrant colour and brilliance, perfect for adding a touch of sophistication to any look.


Emerald Bangle

Our exquisite slim Emerald & Diamond Bangle is expertly crafted from 18ct yellow gold. Alternating emeralds and diamonds grace its slender frame, each gem meticulously claw-set to enhance its brilliance. Designed for convenience, the bangle is hinged for easy wear and features a discreet ‘barely there’ clasp. This ensures the seamless flow of its continuous line remains uninterrupted. Add a touch of sophistication to any ensemble with this timeless piece.


Emerald Clover Design Suite

Our Emerald & Diamond Clover Design Pendant and Bracelet shine as standout pieces in our current Emerald Collection. Crafted in radiant 18ct yellow gold, the pendant boasts 0.31ct of exquisite emeralds encircled by brilliant cut diamonds. The accompanying chain is adorned with four additional diamonds, each in rubover settings, adding to its charm.
Meanwhile, the bracelet presents a unique twist on the clover design, crafted in elegant 9ct gold. Two emerald clover-shaped sections are gracefully paired with three open clover shapes in polished gold, creating a delicate and feminine aesthetic.
This contemporary ensemble seamlessly blends timeless elegance with modern charm, making it a versatile addition to any jewellery collection.


Emerald Rings

Celebrate a May birthday with a beautiful emerald ring. From our collection, this elegant Platinum Round Emerald and Diamond Cluster Ring features a round emerald at its centre. A halo of diamonds surrounds the emerald with further diamonds set into the band. The milgrain edge gives the design a timeless old-world charm.


If you’re looking to mark a 55th wedding anniversary, an emerald eternity ring is the perfect choice. In 18ct yellow gold, our Emerald & Diamond Eternity Ring is claw-set for a classy, traditional feel.


From our pre-owned collection, this unusual Pre-Owned Emerald & Diamond Eternity Ring features oval emeralds and brilliant cut diamonds, channel set in a wavy edge band.


Finally, anyone who loves clean lines and sleek styling will love this Princess Cut Emerald & Diamond Eternity Ring. With square-shaped princess cut gemstones channel set into the ring, it offers a modern twist on a timeless symbol of everlasting love.


Accents of Emerald

Using emeralds as an accent in jewellery design adds an elegant touch of vibrancy and meaning. Our breathtaking 18ct White Gold Emerald, Sapphire & Diamond Drop Pendant features a pair of marquise emeralds alongside a pear-shaped sapphire. Combined with diamonds, this incredible piece has a natural, organic feel evoking the green and blue tones found in nature.


Emerald Jewelley at Zelley

Explore the elegance of Emerald Jewellery at Zelley. Whether you’re commemorating a May birthday, marking a significant anniversary, or simply elevating your personal style, our exquisite emerald jewellery collection awaits you. Meticulously crafted with precision and destined to be cherished for generations, each piece at Zelley is a testament to refined elegance. Explore our curated selection and discover the perfect expression of your unique story.