August Birthstones: Peridot and Sardonyx

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August Birthstones: Peridot and Sardonyx

Peridot Symbolism and Meaning

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 those 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 shows 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 occasion, 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 like the stone in this ring to brownish green.

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.

Sardonyx: Secondary Birthstone

Those born in August benefit from having an alternative birthstone to choose from.

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.

The gem ranges in hue from a yellow-tinted red to a 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.

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.

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 Cushion Cut or one that’s set alongside other gemstones like in this colorful band.

For a set of peridot earrings, choose from a glowing pair like these classic studs or these vintage-inspired ones—or opt for a multi-colored hoop set like these.

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

In the world of bracelets, a full circle of peridots are available or wrist pieces with other colored stones.

Whether you decide on a peridot or a sardonyx for an August birthstone piece, know that the jewelry you choose is filled with true thoughtfulness and love.

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