PERIDOT – August Birthstone
The August Birthstone is Peridot, which is one of my very favorites, maybe because one of my daughters was born in August but also because I just love green.
I remember early on selling jewelry in the 80’s and how women would practically cry how they hated their birthstone. At the time the most popular stone was the Amethyst and then a very close second, the Garnet and these two stones were well liked over the Diamond.
The original birthstone for the month of August was Sardonyx* and Peridot was added becoming the primary gem. In 2016 August joined June and December as one of the three birth months represented by three gems as Spinel, which can be found in a variety of colors became the third stone.
Most academics agree that the word “peridot” is derived from the Arabic faridat which means “gem,” but some believe it’s rooted in the Greek word peridona, meaning “giving plenty.” This is possibly why peridot is connected with prosperity and good fortune.
Peridot is the rare gem-quality variety of the common mineral olivine- olive green, which forms deep inside the earth’s mantle and is brought to the surface by volcanoes. In Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the volcano goddess of fire who controls the flow of lava.
Most of the world’s peridot supply comes from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Other sources are China, Myanmar, Pakistan and Africa.
Peridot only measures 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale-Diamond is 10, so while the raw crystal is prone to cracking during cutting, the finished gemstones are rather strong and easy to wear. It is durable for everyday wear in jewelry, but should be treated with care to avoid scratching as with most gemstones. You would want to avoid gardening etc with your gemstones. Clean your Peridot with mild soap and warm water-liquid dish soap is perfect.. Then rinse very well and I use a blow dryer to dry it. When using a blow dryer, place the piece of jewelry on a counter on top of a towel, never hold it as you will get burnt from the metal heating up.
The Peridot has also been called “the Evening Emerald” because its gleaming green hue looks brilliant any time of day, peridot is said to bear healing properties that protect against nightmares and evil, ensuring peace and happiness. Babies born in August are lucky to be guarded by peridot’s good fortune. Peridot and Spinel Peridot, with its signature lime green color, is believed to instill power and influence to the wearer.
Peridot jewelry dates back as far as to the transition from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age.. These ancient Egyptian gems came from sediments on a small volcanic island in the Red Sea called Topazios, now known as St. John’s Island or Zabargad.
Ancient Egyptians called peridot the “gem of the sun,” believing it protected its wearer from terrors of the night. Egyptian priests believed that it harnessed the power of nature, and used goblets encrusted with it to commune with their nature gods.
Some historians believe that Cleopatra’s famed emerald collection may have actually been peridot. Through medieval times, people continued to confuse these two green gems. The 200-carat gems adorning one of the shrines in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral were long believed to be emeralds as well, but they are also peridots.
This gemstone saw a revival in the 1990s when new deposits were discovered in Pakistan, producing some of the finest peridots ever found. Some of these “Kashmir peridots” measured more than 100 carats.
The most productive peridot deposit in the world is located on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona. An estimated 80 to 95 percent of the world’s peridot supply is found here.
Thanks to these rich deposits, the modern demand for peridots can now be met easily, giving people born in August affordable options for wearing this beautiful green birthstone.
Whether you’re shopping for an August birthday or a 16th wedding anniversary, peridot makes the perfect gift that will leave others green with envy.
Peridot can be assessed with the same criteria as diamonds—using color, clarity, cut and carat weight to determine value.
The finest peridots have a lovely lime green hue without any hints of brown or yellow. Quality gems have no inclusions visible to the naked eye, though dark spots may be evident under a microscope. When you look closely, due to double refraction, you may see two of each facet on a peridot.
Thanks to rich deposits of peridot that were discovered in Pakistan in the 1990s, the gem is relatively inexpensive in smaller grain sizes but prices increase for larger stones. Commercially-mined peridots typically measure six to 13 millimeters, so faceted stones are generally about one carat in size.
Flawless peridots over five carats are particularly rare, though stones as large as 22 carats have been cut from basalt rock in Arizona—where most of the world’s peridot is found. The world’s largest peridot is a 310-carat gem in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
Thankfully, there’s now enough raw material on the market so that the perfect peridot can be found to fit any taste or budget.
I hope you enjoyed this information on Peridot. I honestly used to get sad when I would hear people didn’t like their birthstone, just something about me and jewelry. I have often thought that Peridot and Amethysts would go together beautifully, again that could be because my other daughter is born in February.
Mary Elizabeth Glosup
The Jewelry Lady
Reference American Gem Society
Onyx in which white layers alternate with sard.