Emerald Symbolism

 Emerald Birthstone May

Emerald is also the Zodiac stone for Cancer Jun 22 – Jul 22.

It is also the anniversary stone for the 20th, 35th, and 55th year of marriage.

It is especially lucky to wear this gemstone on Thursdays.

Emerald is a symbol of youth and spring. It is the stone of life, beauty and enduring love.

Emerald is associated with immorality. Who does want to live forever?

It is also a stone that enhances inspiration and patience. Emerald is said to increase memory and understanding.

With the advantage of more patience, understanding and inspiration this gemstone will attract prosperity in business.  All good things come to a person who never gives up.

In Christianity emerald became a popular symbol of faith and a papal jewel.

In Dreams

Dreaming about an emerald is a happy dream of good omens. It signalizes that you have a lot to look forward to. Your future is bright and there are to be many happy times ahead.

Emerald and the Quetzal


In Ancient Mexico the emerald gemstone was called “quetzalitzli”. It was associated with the bird called quetzal.

The quetzal has long beautiful green wings. It was a symbol of spring and renewal. The quetzal was a sacred bird.

The Maya believed that this bird would die in captivity. It was therefore a strong symbol of freedom and prosperity. The feathers of this bird and the gemstone associated with it were very expensive, which added to its symbol of wealth. It was considered a crime to kill a quetzal.

The quetzal is the National bird of Guatemala and has also given its name to their currency.



Emeralds were connected to the East and to the god Quetzalcoatl. Quetzalcoatl was one of the most important gods among the Aztecs and Maya civilizations.

He was the feathered snake god. He was a hero god. In some myths he was the creator of humans.

He was connected to the East and the god of learning and knowledge. Quetzalcoatl was associated with Venus. 

The Emerald in Ancient Rome and Greece

The Ancient Romans attributed emerald to Venus. Venus was the goddess of beauty and love. Her equivalent in Greek mythology was Aphrodite.  This gemstone was beauty, grace and love all in one.

Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), the famous Greek philosopher said that business owners would be smart to wear an emerald as this gemstone would increase the person’s importance.

This would mean more respect and better business dealings. He also said it could help a man win a trial if he ever found himself in a dispute.

Pliny the Elder (23 – 79 AD) wrote in his work Natural History about the emerald. He had several things to say about this gemstone:

“Next to the value after diamonds come the pearls of India and Arabia and in third place, for several reasons, the emerald. Certainly no color is more delightful in appearance. For although we enjoy looking at plants and leaves, we regard emeralds with all the more pleasure because compared with them there is absolutely nothing more intensely green.”

“And after straining our eyes by looking at another object, we can restore our vision to normal by gazing at the emerald. Lapidaries find this the most agreeable means of refreshing their eyes. So soothing is the mellow green of the gem for tired eyes.

Also from Pliny the Elder:

“The story is told that in Cyprus there was a statue of a lion on the burial mound of a prince named Hermias, near the tunny-fisheries; the lion had inset eyes which were made of emerald and they could be seen shining so brightly, even below the water that the tunny-fish fled in terror. For a long time the fishermen were baffled by this strange behavior until they changed the gemstones used for eyes.”

(These quotes are from the wonderful book “Pliny the Elder – Natural History: A Selection. Penguin Classics 2004 Translated by: John F. Healy)

Ancient Egypt and the Emerald

In Ancient Egypt those who could afford it would bury their loved ones with an emerald to ensure they had eternal youth in their afterlife.

Archeologists have discovered that emeralds were found in mines near the Red Sea as far back as 1650 B.C. These mines were later called “Cleopatra’s Mines. Cleopatra was extremely found of emeralds and wore them often.

lovers gemstone

In Ancient Egypt this gemstone was called “the lover’s stone”. It was believed to strengthen the bond of a couple.

Stay Faithful

During the Middle Ages some believed that if a man gave his wife an emerald to wear before he went on a trip, she would remain faithful to her husband.

Maybe she had good reason to remain faithful if her husband could afford to give her such a precious gemstone.

Albertus Magnus (1200 -1280) wrote that there was no fooling the husband. If the wife had not been faithful the husband was sure to find out. He said the gemstone would shatter if the wife committed adultery.


Hermeticism is based on the religious and philosophical texts of Hermes Trismegistus. It is based on three parts of the wisdom: alchemy, astrology, and theurgy (rituals).

According to Hermetic tradition the emerald fell from Lucifer’s forehead when he was cast from Heaven.

Alchemists said the emerald was connected to the Roman god Mercury. He is the messenger god. His Greek equivalent is Hermes.They would also call this gemstone “Maydew”. They believed this stone could infiltrate the thickest of darkness.

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2 thoughts on “Emerald”

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