Emerald is the last “spring” stone before summer starts in June. Green is often associated with spring, furthering its role as the “spring” gemstone. Ironically, one of the two stones in March (when the Spring Equinox starts) is not green. Bloodstone, although green, is not precious and hard to facet. In any case, it was never regarded as a spring gemstone historically.
The history of emerald as a birthstone and just about all the info we can give you is relatively straightforward, so without delay, let us get into it.
Whether or not Emerald was a June or May birthstone varied from culture to culture. According to Kunz, the Poles interpreted it as a May gemstone. It has since become a May gemstone. Although Kunz hints that emerald as a June birthstone died in modern times (giving us a range from the 15th century to today), there is evidence to suggest that some as late as the 19th century championed the “ancient” belief. An article in the “Jewelers’ Circle” has an old poem that reads:
“Who comes with Summer to this earth
And owes to June her day of birth,
With ring of emerald on her hand
Can health, wealth, and long life command.”
Supposedly, this poem comes from several historians, including none other than Kunz. However, the source is not as important here as to how it’s used; the Circular was advocating for emerald as a birthstone of June, not May.
Emerald’s zodiac sign is Gemini. Because of how the zodiac system is structured, emerald belongs to June and May in calendar months. Today, we can see some major deviations from the historical tradition in modern zodiac lists. For instance, Karenna Maraj claims that emerald is a Cancer. This designation makes emerald more aligned with summer than spring which is itself another major deviation.
Emerald today just is not seen as June’s birthstone. There may be a few reasons why. Firstly, green is associated more with spring than summer. May is more of a “spring” month than June is, and emerald is a green stone.
Secondly, the Polish designated emerald as a May birthstone. Most contemporary lists are drawn from Polish Jews immigrating to America and establishing an early jewelry industry. The connection is self-explanatory.
Lastly, there is June’s chaotic history. But to get into how other gemstones fought for June, we will need to dive into that historical rabbit hole and go from there.
Kunz, George Frederick. The Curious Lore of Precious Stones. United Kingdom, Lippincott, 1913.
Harriman, Tenn. “Queries by Circular Readers.” The Jewelers’ Circular, vol. 34, no. 1, Feb 3, 1897.