May Birthday Symbols and Zodiac Signs
Alternative Birthstones: Agate and Chrysoprase
Birthstone color: Green
Birth flower: Lily of the Valley
Zodiac star sign: Taurus (Apr 21 – May 21)
Zodiac star sign: Gemini (May 22 – Jun 21)
20th and 35th Wedding Anniversary: Emerald
The May Birthstone is Emerald
Both the modern and the official May birthstone is the Emerald thus the May birthstone color is green. The alternative birthstone for May is traditionally Agate, however in recent times the green gemstone Chrysoprase has been added as an alternative.
Emerald is one of the Zodiac birthstones for Taurus (Apr 21 – May 21), and both Agate and Chrysoprase are Zodiac birthstones for the Gemini (May 22 – Jun 21) star sign.
Other birthday symbols include the birth flowers for May which are Lily of the Valley and Hawthorn.
‘Emerald’ comes from the Greek word “smaragdos” which means “green stone”, and Emeralds are associated with friendship, faithfulness and loyalty.
Besides being a meaningful May birthday gift, Emerald jewelry is also given to celebrate 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.
Watch the short, informative videos below highlighting the history, symbolism and properties of Emeralds and Agate.
The May Birthstone Color is Green
May’s birthstone color of green symbolizes the renewal of life in Spring, which starts in May in the northern hemisphere. The birthstone color comes from May’s birthstone Emerald, one of the four precious gemstones and one of the rarest, most valuable gems.
Emeralds are a variety of the mineral beryl and the vivid green color comes from trace elements of chromium or vanadium. Emerald crystals form over millions of years and although they can form under different geological conditions, the combination of the necessary elements occurring in the same place is very rare, hence Emeralds are only found in a few locations.
Emeralds typically contain characteristic inclusions which can be traced back to the country and even the mine of origin. Colombia is world renown for Emeralds and is the largest single source worldwide. Other primary locations are Zambia, Brazil and Zimbabwe and more recently Ethiopia.
Emeralds are usually oiled to enhance the color and appearance of the stone and sometimes to mask the inclusions. May birthstone jewelry set with Emerald gemstones is a meaningful gift for special birthdays in May.
Discover more about emerald gemstones and emerald history and symbolism.
Alternative May Birthstone Agate
The alternative birthstone for May is traditionally Agate, a distinctive banded stone that occurs in a variety of colors.
Agate is a type of quartz found inside hollow rocks (geodes) within volcanic rock and can vary from transparent to opaque. The beautiful banded patterns can form in a variety of colors and Agate slices are often used as decorative objects. Agate is found on all continents but mostly comes from mines in South America.
Discover more about the different types of Agate.
Alternative May Birthstone Chrysoprase
In recent times the green gemstone Chrysoprase has been added as a second alternative birthstone for May.
Chrysoprase is a variety of chalcedony containing small quantities of nickel and varies from beautiful apple-green to lovely deep green shades.
Historically the best quality Chrysoprase was found in Poland and the Czech Republic. However in the sixties a deposit was discovered in Queensland, Australia which has become a major source and known as Australian jade. Other locations are Germany, Russia and the USA.
The translucent, even texture and color of this gemstone makes it ideal for beads and cameos.
Discover more about the Chrysoprase gemstone.
The May Birth Flowers are Lily of the Valley and Hawthorn
May Birth Flower: Lily of the Valley
The primary birthday flower of May is Lily of the Valley, a scented woodland plant that blooms in spring.
The first part of the scientific name Convallaria majalis means ‘in the valley’, referring to the European wooded valleys where the plant grows naturally, and the second part means ‘belonging to’ or ‘of May’.
The Lily of the Valley has been used as a floral emblem in Yugoslavia, Finland and Norway; and it has become customary to give this flower as a symbol of spring on May Day in France.
May Birth Flower: Hawthorn
The second flower for May is the Hawthorn, a common shrub to small tree that also produces fragrant white flowers in the spring, known as the May-tree in some countries.
The red edible fruit known as ‘haws’ and the thorny branches have given rise to other common names such as quickthorn, whitethorn, thornapple, and hawberry.
Hawthorns feature in many cultural customs across Europe and Britain.
The language of flowers introduced in Victorian times says that the Hawthorn and Lily of the Valley symbolize happiness, humility and sweetness.