What is the birthstone for May? In fact, the question is more properly asked, what are the birthstones for May? There are overall six birthstones of May, the fifth month of the year. What are the different May birthstones? In this article we list the 6 types of May birthstone.
- Modern: Emerald
- Alternate-Britain: Chrysoprase
- Traditional: Emerald & Agate
- Ancient Hebrew: Agate, Carnelian & Chalcedony
- Tibetan: Sapphire
Who first beholds the light of day
In spring’s sweet flowery month of May
And wears an emerald all her life
Shall be a loved and happy wife.
— Gregorian birthstone poem
Emerald is the modern birthstone for May, both in the United States and Britain, as well as in India. Emerald was also the traditional May birthstone, and was in fact the birthstone of May in the old Polish, Russian and Arabic calendar. Before the gemstone landed on these ancient calendars as the gemstone for May, emerald was a zodiac stone for Taurus and the talismanic stone for Gemini, both zodiac signs falling partly on the month of May.
Emerald is the green variety of beryl, which when blue is called aquamarine, and when yellow heliodor. The May stone is among the most expensive gemstones in the world, and has accordingly remained in the modern list of precious stones. This May gemstone is believed to heal and promote well-being.
Agate is a traditional birthstone for May. The designation of agate as May birthstone goes back to the old Roman, Italian, Hebrew and old Hindu (Ayurvedic) calendar. Before the gemstone appeared in these ancient calendars as stone for May, agate was the main zodiac stone for Gemini, which falls partly on the month of May.
Agate consists of a wide variety of banded chalcedony, which may include onyx. As such, this May gemstone is found in a great mixture of colors, from green, blue, red, yellow, white and black. The May stone is believed to enhance intelligence, and make its wearer more articulate. See also Agate: Stone of Prudence.
Chrystoprase is a new addition to the list of May birthstones, having been designated in Britain as modern birthstone for May. The reason behind the naming of chrysoprase as alternate May birthstone seems obvious: Chrysoprase is green as emerald is green, in keeping with the birthstone color for May. Centuries before chrysoprase became a birthstone of May, chrysoprase was in fact a zodiac stone for Gemini, which falls partly on the month of May. This May gemstone is a green variety of chalcedony, and is believed to stabilize emotions and stave off depression.
Carnelian is a birthstone for May in the old Hebrew calendar. This May birthstone is another variety of chalcedony. If chrysoprase is green chalcedony, carnelian is the red member of the chalcedony group of minerals. This birthstone of May is believed to strengthen passion and desire. See also Carnelian: Stone of Passion.
As if agate, chrysoprase and carnelian are not enough to represent the gemstone as birthstone for May, chalcedony itself was designated as May birthstone, at least in the ancient Hebrew calendar. While comprising of a wide variety of quartz minerals — including agate, chrysoprase and carnelian — and occurring in a great variety of colors, the gemstone color most popularly referred to by the name chalcedony is the white chalcedony, which may be bluish in hue. This May stone is believed to bring emotional balance and relieve depression. See also Chalcedony: Stone of Virtue.
Sapphire is the birthstone for May in the old Tibetan calendar. This May birthstone consists of corundum occurring in a wide variety of colors, except red, which would be called ruby. The May gemstone is believed to bring inner peace, and accordingly counteract depression.
May Birthstone Color
What color is May birthstone? The modern choices of birthstones for May in Britain indicate what the May gemstone color is. Of course, emerald, the primary traditional and modern birthstone for May, both in Britain and U.S., as well as in India, is green. Chrysoprase, the alternate birthstone of May in Britain, is also green. It is clear that modern gemology assigns green as the May birthstone color.
If secondary colors of May gemstone have to be identified, there would be plenty of them to choose from. Agate, the birthstone for May in the old Roman, Italian, Hebrew and old Hindu calendar, occurs in bands of different colors, including green. Carnelian, the other May stone in the Hebrew calendar, is red; while the still other Hebrew stone for May, chalcedony, is most popularly white. On the other hand, sapphire, the gemstone for May in the old Tibetan calendar, is available in a variety of colors, ranging from blue, green, yellow, clear, to pink. Indeed, there are several colors to second green as May stone color. Still, green is the most widely accepted birthstone color for May.
In an extensive research on birthstones, I discovered that today’s May birthstone came from a different month on the calendar. The original gemstone for May, on the other hand, is nowhere to be found in today’s list of birthstones.
Get to know the original May stone, as well as the magical powers of all birthstones, when you read my book Power Birthstone.