There are three different gemstones representing August—sardonyx, peridot, and spinel. June and December are the only two other months for which there are three gemstones. Here is a look at each of August’s birthstones, including their qualities, meaning, and history.
As August’s primary gemstone, peridot is known for its brilliant lime green glow. It is a form of olivine, which forms deep in the Earth and surfaces via volcanoes and, in rare cases, appears in meteorites. Peridot is unique in that it is found in only one color, although varying quantities of iron can result in yellowish-green to olive, to brownish-green shades. While it measures 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, finished gemstones are quite durable.
History of Perdiot Gems
The name is believed to come from the Arabic word for “gem”, faridat, while the Greek word peridona, meaning “giving plenty” is believed by some to be the origin. Peridot at one time symbolized the tears of the volcano goddess Pele; outside of Hawaii though, it’s often been associated with prosperity and good fortune.
Peridot jewelry was worn in ancient Egypt. Ancient Egyptians believed it protected wearers from the terrors of the night. It was often confused with emeralds in medieval times. The discovery of deposits in Pakistan revived its popularity in the 1990s; today, most of the world’s peridot deposits are found in Arizona.
Sardonyx is an instantly recognizable gem with alternating layers of sard and onyx minerals. Reddish with white bands, it measures 6.6 on the Mohs hardness scale, and is commonly found in inexpensive jewelry. In carved form, the color contrast between the different layers is most obvious. The sharpest contrasts are found in gems originating from India; sardonyx can be found in Germany, Brazil, Madagascar, and the United States.
Hidden History of Sardonyx Gemstones
The wearing of sardonyx goes back over 4,000 years. Its name breaks down into sard, referring to the ancient city Sardis, which is now in Turkey. Onyx is a Greek word that means “nail or claw”.
Sardonyx talismans worn by Ancient Greeks and Romans were engraved with images of heroes and gods; it was believed to protect them and grant them courage and victory. In Roman times, the stone was used for seals and signet rings because hot wax doesn’t stick to it. It was later associated with eloquence in the Renaissance. Throughout history, sardonyx was popular among elite and regular people because of its abundance and being relatively inexpensive.
While it resembles ruby or pink sapphire, spinel has a lower Mohs hardness than both and is distinguished by its octahedral crystal structure and single refraction. Spinel is most desirable when vivid red. But it can also be found in cobalt blue, bright orange, and bright pink. Lavendar, black, gray, pale pink, yellow, or brown spinel stones exist as well. The gemstone is often cut into shapes like rounds, ovals, octagons, pears, and cushions.
History of Spinel Gem Jewelry
Throughout history, spinel was so often confused with other gemstones. Famous rubies including the “Timur Ruby” and “Black Prince’s Ruby” were in fact spinel. In Central and Southeast Asia, emperors and kings owned large spinel crystals that were called Balas rubies. Magnetite, a type of magnetized spinel, was used in compasses by mariners as early as the 11th century. Today, spinel is found in Cambodia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Australia, Tanzania, Brazil, the United States, and many other countries.
Find Your August Gemstones at Jeweler’s Touch
From diamonds to popular gemstones, our professional jewelers can include your gem of choice in custom jewelry, including rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and more. Continue browsing to learn more about what we do, our financing, or layaway plans as well as access our exclusive educational resources. Feel free to make an appointment online or call us directly at 714-579-1616.