The August Birthstones: Peridot, Sardonyx and Spinel

The August Birthstones: Peridot, Sardonyx and Spinel

The August birthstone is the peridot. The alternative August birthstones are Sardonyx and the Spinel.

Peridot is derived from the Arab word FARIDAT meaning Gem. It is also known as Chrysolite and Olivine.

Peridot is a vivid green gemstone ranging from light lime-green to darker olive.

Peridot has been known for centuries and the medieval cultures as early as 340–279 BCE. It was very much loved and admired by ancient Egyptians who had named the stone "Gem of the Sun" as it was thought to hold the power of the sun.

Peridot was first found on the volcanic island of Topazios in the Red Sea, today known as Zabargad during the second millennium BC. Though mines from other countries have been found, Peridot gems from Zabargad are still highly desirable.

Peridot was used in ancient Egypt to ward off evil, and today, it is used to cleanse the mind and the surroundings of negativity.

Peridot is also called the Evening Emerald because of its similarity to the precious stone in its fluorescent brilliant green. Historians are of the belief that Cleopatra’s emerald collection was in fact peridots.

Peridots are formed deep in the earth and came up to the surface through volcano eruptions. They have also been found in comet dust and meteorites.

In Hawaiian creation stories, it is said that Peridot was known since ancient times. In Hawaii it was called the Tears of Goddess Pele who was the goddess of fire and volcanoes and mother creator of the Hawaiian Islands.

The presence of iron in peridot determines the richness of its green color. It ranges from yellowish-green to olive-green or brownish-green. The most preferred color is a pure grass-green without any hint of yellow or brown.

The San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona is the primary source of 80% to 95% of the world's commercial quality peridot. At the green sands Beaches in Hawaii Peridot is found in abundance. Other sources of Peridot come from Myanmar, Pakistan, China, Vietnam, Tanzania, Madagascar, Germany, Brazil, Czech Republic, Uruguay, and the United States.

In ancient Egypt Peridot was used as a talisman. It was believed to ward off evil, especially envy known in ancient times as the evil eye. Peridot was also believed to strengthen the eyes and ward off anxiety. It was the gemstone used for a successful relationship with friends and marriage.

It was believed that Peridot set in gold would protect the wearer from curses and witchcraft. And if it was worn on the left arm and strung on the hair of a donkey it protected the wearer from evil spirits.

Roman soldiers wore peridot ring as it gave them courage and power in defeating their enemies in battle.

Green gemstones are often linked with prosperity, luck, wealth and resurrection. Peridot is also associated with loyalty, honesty and optimism. It helps in reducing stress and eliminates negative thinking like anger and jealousy.

Napoleon Bonaparte loved Peridot so much that he gave his fiancée Josephine a peridot jewel as a symbol of his love.

Peridot in the Middle Ages was used for its supposed healing properties for the eyes, stomach, spleen, liver, lungs and sinuses. It was powdered and given as medicine to cure asthma. It was also believed that putting a peridot under the tongue would help to lessen thirst especially during a high fever.

Peridot is also known as "the vitamin D of healing crystals." It is said that it can help slow down the aging process. It is also capable of treating ailments coming from the spleen, gallbladder, gastrointestinal tract and lungs. Peridot can aid you in recovering faster from these ailments by placing it near the affected area.

Because Peridot has the ability to absorb negative energy, it is recommended that you wash your peridot on a regular basis in order to cleanse it. You do this by putting it under running water.

Peridot has a hardness ranging from 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. It has a fair to good toughness (or resistance to breaking and chipping). This means that Peridot can be worn in everyday jewelry pieces such as rings and bracelets.

Peridot is recognised as the official and primary modern-day birthstone for the month of August. However, there are alternative August birthstones. These are the Sardonyx and Spinel.

Sardonyx gets its name from brownish-red variant of Onyx and the red bands from the mineral Sard. Sardonyx is an gemstone older than Peridot.

In ancient Rome, Sardonyx was used to create cameos of Venus which was worn by the women as necklaces in order to obtain the blessings of the goddess of love. Men, on the other hand, wore it in the hope of gaining the protection of the god of war, Mars, during battle. Sardonyx was also set in signet rings and used in seals.

The ancient Egyptians believed that wearing Sardonyx inspires courage, happiness and clear thinking. Like peridot, it nurtures good marriage and stable relationship.

Sardonyx has the same hardness as Peridot which ranges from 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale.

While Peridot comes in its natural color, it cannot be said about Sardonyx because its color is often dyed and/or treated. Treated gemstones should not be soaked in water.

Spinel is the next alternative birthstone for the month of August.

Spinel is derived from the Latin word SPINA meaning Thorn. This is because its crystal formation comes in the form of pointed thorns. It occurs in a range of colors such as red, pink, blue, orange, brown, violet, purple, gray and black (green and yellow are extremely rare). Spinel is transparent to opaque with a glass-like luster. It has a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale. That means that it can be cut and faceted into almost any shapes, although circles, ovals and cushion cuts are the most popular.

Spinel has been known by the nobility and jewelers since the eleventh century. At this time Spinels and Rubies were of equal value but this changed in the 18th century when Rubies acquire a higher value than Spinel.

The Spinel is also referred to as The Stone of Immortality. It boosts your vitality and stamina and allows you to overcome any health issues.

Spinels were known as The Perfect Health Stone and it was used as a charm to be worn over the solar plexus. It was a booster of energy, and could help you to recover from a sickness and get you up on your feet quickly.

Spinels are a rejuvenating, re-energizing and inspiring gemstone. It is a destroyer of obstacles, giver of optimism and determination to succeed in whatever project you have set your mind to accomplish.

The revitalizing metaphysical property of spinel helps you in your career goals and in your amorous courtship. It also helps you to let go of negative relationships. Not only that, different colored Spinel brings its own metaphysical healing properties.

Red spinel - encourages physical vitality and strength.
Blue spinel - stimulates clear communication.
Orange spinel - stimulates creativity, intuition and balances emotions.
Violet or purple spinel - stimulates spiritual development.
Pink spinel – protective and calming.

Spinel looks very similar to the ruby. For centuries they were mistaken for rubies. The famous Black Prince Ruby was one example. Besides chemical differences, Rubies have a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale whereas Spinel has a hardness of 8.

Major sources of spinel include Tajikistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Tanzania and Pakistan. Some sources are known for producing spinel of arresting color, like hot pink and red spinel from Myanmar.