Alternative May Birthstones – What’s really ‘standard’ anymore?
Traditionally, when asked what the birthstone for May is, you might find Emerald to be your answer. What you may not find is the story of how Emerald wasn’t always the standard birthstone for May. Like many things in life, birthstones continue to shift and evolve over time. Here is a little background and history surrounding the birthstones of May.
In ancient calendars, the emerald was a zodiac stone for Taurus and the talismanic stone for Gemini, both zodiac signs falling sometime during the month of May. Many know the gem associated with their zodiac sign, but the reasons behind the connection of astrology and gemstones is often lost in translation. While there are many different interpretations, some believe the connection exists because gemstones form deep within the earth and require constant pressure, heat, and temperature. Historical writings have referred to this process as a reflection of the sun and the stars, thus giving gemstones a strong connection to energies influenced by the stars. There is a multitude of differing opinions as to what the ‘true’ birthstone is because of the varying ways this has been applied to different cultures, but there seems to be no disagreement that some type of connection exists. This May gemstone is believed to be healing and promote well-being. Still today, emeralds are widely considered to be the primary, or ‘modern’ birthstone for May. This is true for the United States and Britain, as well as in India.
Moving on, we shift to the first alternative, agate. Agate is, in many cases, considered the more traditional birthstone for May. This birthstone goes all the way back to historical Roman, Italian, Hebrew, and old Hindu calendars. These Agates consisted of a wide variety of banded chalcedony, which are found in a great mixture of colors, from green, blue, red, yellow, white and black.
More recently, Chrysoprase has made it to the list of May birthstones. This is mainly due to the fact that chrysoprase is green, just as Emerald, and offers an alternative birthstone without straying from the color for May. Centuries before Chrysoprase became one of May’s birthstones, chrysoprase was in fact also a zodiac stone for Gemini.
To add the list, Chalcedony itself was designated as a May birthstone, in the ancient Hebrew calendar. Depending on the source or the destination of birthstones history, we can see there isn’t a clear choice to what is ‘standard’ in the industry anymore.
So, what is the color is May birthstone? The modern birthstone for the US and Britain, is green. Chrysoprase, the alternate, is also green. Then you have agate, which is found in many different colors, including green. Indeed, green is the most widely accepted birthstone color for May, but there is growing change in buyers purchasing and wearing of their birthstones.
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