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August Birthstones Buying Guide

By Mike Fried,

Do you have an August birthday and find yourself curious about your birthstone options? Well, you’re in luck. August is one of those great months because you have not one or two, but three options for birthstones. For an August gemstone, you can find peridot, sardonyx, and spinel gemstones to choose from, along with several beautiful jewelry options.

August Birthstones

August birthdays have three birthstones: peridot, sardonyx, and spinel gemstones. The color of the peridot birthstone is green, ranging from a pale lime to a darker olive tone. The color of the sardonyx gemstone is yellowish-red to reddish-brown, usually with white bands throughout. For spinel, the gemstones can be red, blue, green, pink, purple, orange, black, or brown. The most popular colors for spinel birthstone jewelry like this one from Leibish & Co. are blue, red, purple, and pink. 

When choosing birthstones for a specific birthday, like August 15 or August 20, the gemstones are the same. Throughout the entire month, the birthstones are peridot, sardonyx, and spinel. Choose the gemstone with the most appealing color or the most significant meaning to you.

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

Types of August Birthstones

As we mentioned, there are three August gemstones: peridot, sardonyx, and spinel. These birthstones give those born in August a beautiful variety to choose from. 

Out of the three August birthstones, our preferred birthstone is peridot, due to its unique, eye-catching green color. It’s also widely available in jewelry, ranging from earrings to rings.

Below we explain in great detail each of these birthstones, including their symbolism, history, and most importantly, how to go about buying them. We provide tips on what to look for in each gemstone, along with recommended vendors. 

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Peridot Birthstone

Peridot: Symbolism and Meaning

Peridot Solitaire Pendant
Peridot Solitaire Pendant

Peridot is a vivid green gemstone ranging from light lime green to darker olive. Its signature green tone stands out among other gemstones.

Dating as far back as 2000 B.C., the peridot gem has been a beloved and admired gemstone. Ancient Egyptians found peridots on the volcanic island in the Red Sea, the island now known as Zabargad or St. John’s Island.

Holy men of ancient Egypt embedded peridots into their goblets, as it was thought peridots held the power of nature. According to some historians, Cleopatra’s famous jewelry collection was made of peridots instead of emeralds. Throughout medieval times, emeralds and peridots were often confused for one another.

The stone was named the “gem of the sun” because it was believed to offer protection from nightmares and evil terrors. Peridots were also believed to harness healing properties and ward off negative emotions—bringing peace and calm happiness to all who wear it.

The Peridot is a special birthstone for those born in August, because it is a gemstone that’s known to bring calmness and serenity.

Peridot Color

Radiating a lime-colored glow, the peridot is an exquisite green gem made of magnesium-rich mineral olivine. In ancient Rome, the peridot had the nickname “evening emerald” because it shines bright green when held close to light.

Peridots are formed deep in the earth’s mantle and only emerge to the earth’s surface through volcanoes. On rare occasions, peridots are also found in meteorites.

The richness of green color depends on how much iron is present in the composition. Peridots range from yellowish green to brownish green.

”The most favored peridot color is a richly saturated pure grass green, which is usually only achieved in gems of 10-cts. or larger. Smaller examples tend to show yellowish-green hues and brown undertones lower the value of peridot.” Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

Less durable than diamonds and rubies, peridot still maintains a 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, making them durable enough for frequent or everyday wear.

Peridot Origins

Though St. John’s Island was the first known source of peridot, the largest deposit is located in Arizona’s San Carlos Reservation. Over 80% of the world’s current supply of peridot is found in this southeast region of Arizona.

Peridot deposits are also present in Myanmar (Burma), China, Africa and, most recently, Pakistan. Some of the most stunning peridots have been mined in Pakistan. They’ve been given the name “Kashmir peridots” and weigh more than 100 Carat.

Choosing the Perfect Peridot Engagement and Wedding Ring

Due to its beautiful and rich color, peridot makes a special and thoughtful choice as a gift or engagement ring. It pairs brilliantly with yellow gold jewelry.

Since the Peridot can resemble emeralds, the colors of each gemstone may range from yellow-green colors to green and gold tones, olive tones, or even a bright and lighter green color as well as resembling a deeper chartreuse like color.

Depending on the size of the peridot gemstone, you may be able to see some imperfections and flaws in the gem. Many times, a certain resin or oil can be used on the gemstone to help enhance its overall appearance and enhance its beauty just a bit more.

When choosing peridot, steer clear of white gold and instead opt for a yellow gold alternative. If the metal has a rhodium coating, you’ll also want to stay away from silver as well. The coating of the stone will have to be redone every few years because the rhodium coating can cause pits in peridot over time.

The biggest factor to take into consideration when purchasing peridot jewelry is the quality cut and the brilliance of the stone. Diamonds are also a good enhancement to have along the band.

The peridot makes a visually stunning alternative to traditional diamond wedding bands and engagement rings. It is especially thoughtful if your love has an August birthday, so they can see that you took the time to incorporate their birthstone into the ring.

The peridot also makes great birthstone jewelry in the form of necklaces, stud earrings, and even men’s jewelry. For men, it is an excellent accouterment for men’s rings.

A peridot and diamond ring combination is sure to be a stunning choice for both his and her bands on their wedding day.

Sardonyx: Secondary August Birthstone

Brown Sardonyx Earrings
Brown Sardonyx Earrings

“Sardonyx combines alternating layers of sard and onyx—two types of the layered mineral chalcedony—to create a reddish zebra-striped gemstone with white bands.” “The finest examples of sardonyx are found in India. Other sources include Brazil, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Madagascar, Uruguay, and the United States.” American Gem Society (AGS)

Sardonyx is a stone ranging from light yellow red to reddish brown, dependent on the amount of iron oxide present in the stone’s composition. Generally, sardonyx gemstones also contain white bands, a visual representation of the sard and onyx layers. This unique gemstone can be cut into various shapes, from oval beads to hearts to make necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings.

Sardonyx was originally discovered in an ancient Persian city called Sardis, the region now known as Turkey. The stone has a unique composition, with layers of sard—which comes from the city name Sardis—and onyx, both varieties of mineral chalcedony.

Since around 2000 B.C., sardonyx has been regarded as a precious and important gemstone. Ancient Romans and Greeks adorned themselves with sardonyx pendants and rings before heading into battle, believing the stones brought them courage and protection. Sardonyx remains a symbol of strength, happiness and courage.

Sardonyx deposits are present in Germany, Madagascar, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, the United States and Uruguay.

Sardonyx: Facts and Buying Information

The sardonyx is a semi-precious gemstone with reddish brown and white colored bands. This stone contains several miniscule quartz fibers that can be found in multiple layers deposited one onto the other to form the appearance of a banded look. The layers are typically translucent to opaque.

Sardonyx can also be found in other colors such as yellow, brown, white, purple, gray, black, pink, and green with more naturally colored bands that you could usually see in nature.

There are usually very few imperfections on these gemstones, and they usually come in larger sizes. It can be shaped into a variety of different shapes including oval, pear, and round but the most common and most popular shape would be the shape of the eyes to enhance the different colored bands.

The sardonyx makes for magnificent jewelry pieces. You can find stunning necklaces, engagement rings, earrings, and pendants and can be made with yellow or white gold, and sterling silver.

This particular gemstone is affordable for many and has since become a favorite choice. For enhancement, the gemstone can be dyed or stained to help improve its overall color and appearance.

It is important to pay attention to the smaller details, especially the enhancements, to be sure you are not misled regarding the value of the gemstone. You want to be sure you are purchasing the genuine sardonyx gemstone and not just paying the price of one.

Spinel: Tertiary Birthstone

Spinel is a gemstone that can be pink, purple, blue, red, black, and orange, among other colors. This August gemstone can range from pastels to deep, rich colors depending on the amount of trace elements like iron and cobalt in the gemstone’s composition. Ranking an 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, this colorful gemstone is a stunning and durable choice for everything from necklaces to rings. The most vibrant red spinel can even resemble rubies.

16.44 carat, Red, Tanzanian Spinel
16.44ct Red, Tanzanian Spinel

Spinel symbolizes energy, kindness, and creativity. For those that wear the gemstone, it’s thought to revitalize your spirits. 

Found primarily in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan, spinel is also mined in Australia, Africa, Tanzania, Vietnam, Russia, and Madagascar.

Spinel: Facts and Buying Information

Natural spinel is a more rare gemstone, making it not as widely available as the peridot birthstone. You can find spinel at some specialty jewelry stores and the prices tend to be reasonable despite its rarity. 

The most important factor when shopping for spinel is its color. Find the color and saturation that appeals to you the most — whether that’s pink, purple, red, or blue. The more vibrant the color, the more desirable it tends to be, and typically the more expensive. 

You’ll also want to consider the shape of the spinel gemstone, whether it’s round, oval, or a more intricate shape like a heart. Depending on your jewelry piece, you may want a traditional design or something unique. 

Most spinel gemstones are free of inclusions, making clarity a less important quality to watch out for (for reference, look at our diamond clarity article to understand what it is).

Fun Facts

  • Over 300 Carat in weight, the world’s largest peridot stone is housed in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
  • Stories reference that Napoleon gave his wife, Josephine, a peridot to demonstrate his love.
  • Several celebrities have been known to wear peridots, including Lucille Ball, Drew Barrymore and Angelina Jolie.

Gift Ideas

Peridots make for outstanding and unique gifts for birthdays, holidays and other special occasions. Due to large deposits worldwide, peridots are affordable in a variety of jewelry settings. Peridots are also traditionally given as 16th wedding anniversary gifts.

For peridot rings, consider one in a dainty bezel design like this one on James Allen or one that’s set alongside other gemstones like in this colorful band from Blue Nile.

For a set of peridot earrings, choose from a glowing pair like these classic studs from James Allen or these vintage-inspired ones from Blue Nile.

If you’re looking for a pendant or necklace, consider any of the following styles:

In the world of bracelets, tennis bracelets are available or wrist pieces with other colored stones like this one from Blue Nile.

Whether you decide on a peridot, sardonyx, or spinel for your August gemstone, know that the jewelry you choose is filled with thoughtfulness and love.

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well-known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high-quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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