September 08, 2023
August is one of the few months graced with multiple birthstone options - luminous peridot, dazzling spinel, and banded sardonyx. These gems span from light to dark and offer diverse styling possibilities. Discover the story behind each of August's captivating birthstones.
Peridot glows with a striking lime green hue, full of life. Formed deep within the earth and delivered to us in lava and meteorites, peridot is truly a celestial gem.
Peridot is the gem variety of olivine, a magnesium iron silicate mineral. Its signature green results from trace amounts of iron.
Ranging from yellowish to olive green, peridot often contains inclusions but can occur transparent. The most valued peridot is an intense, vivid green with slight hints of yellow or olive.
Mined for over 3,500 years, peridot jewelry became popular during the Baroque period in Europe. It remains an affordable alternative to emerald.
Peridot rates 6.5-7 on the Mohs hardness scale, so while not as durable as ruby or sapphire, it can be worn with care in most jewelry.
Ancient Egyptians called peridot the "gem of the sun," believing it brought the wearer light and happiness. Hawaiian folklore claimed its mystical powers connected the earth to the light of the sun.
Throughout history, peridot has been used for protection against nightmares, evil spirits, and dark magic. Some cultures powdered peridot for use as medicine or ground it to cure asthma.
The bright green gem is today's official birthstone for August, as well as the traditional 15th wedding anniversary gemstone.
The Egyptian island Zabargad was the earliest known peridot mine, producing gems over 3,000 years ago.
Review our peridot buying guide for more expert tips on finding quality peridot.
As a softer gem, protect peridot from scratches, sharp blows, and temperature extremes. Store separately from other gems. Avoid ultrasonic and steam cleaners. Use warm water, mild soap, and a soft brush to clean peridot gently.
Peridot adds verdant glow perfect for nature lovers:
Invite peridot's sunlight glow into your jewelry collection as August's green birthstone.
Spinel dazzles with its rainbow of spectacular colors. For centuries, red spinel was mistaken for ruby. Today, we can appreciate spinel for its own striking beauty.
Spinel belongs to the cubic crystal family along with diamond, garnets, and fluorite. Traces of chromate impart the vibrant pink to red hues, while iron and magnesium produce purple, blue and orange spinels.
In addition to the bold reds it's known for, spinel occurs in pink, violet, cobalt blue, and fuchsia colors. The more saturated the color, the higher its value. Spinel also displays a natural octahedral crystal habit.
With a hardness of 8, the durable August birthstone suits any jewelry application. Larger clean spinels over 5 carats are quite rare.
Ancient Greeks and Romans were fascinated with spinel's fiery reds. Many famous old "rubies" were actually red spinels, like the Black Prince's Ruby set in the Imperial State Crown.
Red spinel was thought to protect its wearer from harm and soothe anger. Soldiers wore spinel talismans engraved with gods into battle.
In more recent times, pink and red spinel became a trendy 1950s jewelry gem. The vibrant August birthstone is also given for 22nd wedding anniversaries.
Myanmar's Mogok region produces exquisite spinel crystals naturally polished by serpentine rock, believed to give the gems "spirit polish."
Vivid saturation, clarity, cut quality and larger sizes determine spinel value:
The more intense the color in clean, well-cut spinels, the greater their rarity and value.
See our spinel buying guide for more expert advice.
With excellent hardness and toughness, spinel can be worn daily. Use warm soapy water and a soft brush to clean. Ultrasonic or steam cleaners are safe for most spinel. Avoid exposing spinel to the risk of hard blows that can cause fractures.
Fun colors and bold shapes allow for eye-catching looks:
Spinel brings an exciting pop of color as an alternative tostandard gems. Have fun styling this bright August birthstone.
Sardonyx displays alternating bands of sard and onyx quartz, creating an eye-catching layered effect. The birthstone dates back over 4,000 years and was beloved by Roman soldiers and artisans.
Sardonyx is a variety of banded chalcedony, a cryptocrystalline form of quartz. Parallel stripes range in color from translucent reddish orange sard, to white, gray or black onyx layers.
Fine specimens show well-defined separating layers of color. Sardonyx takes a polished luster and was historically used for carved cameos and intaglios.
Unlike many other gems, sardonyx is relatively soft at 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale. So it requires more delicate care and occasional repolishing.
According to the Old Testament, sardonyx was a stone set in Aaron's breastplate representing strength. Ancient Greek and Roman stone carvers favored sardonyx for its bold banding.
Roman soldiers carried sardonyx talismans engraved with Mars the god of war for protection. Medieval Europeans believed the stone helped bring marital happiness.
Today, sardonyx symbolizes courage, clear communication in relationships, and optimism.
India exports many carved sardonyx cameos, beads, and cabochons. Other sources yield material ideal for carving due to defined color zones.
Well-defined differentiation between sard, onyx, and chalcedony bands adds intrigue in fine sardonyx.
Take added care with softer sardonyx to prevent abrasions and scratches.
From cameos to modern designs, sardonyx offers styling versatility:
Sardonyx provides a striking contrast you can blend into many looks.
August presents a spectrum of birthstones from light green peridot through sardonyx's dark and light layers. With triple options, August babies can find a perfect birthstone matching their personal taste. Which of August's gems resonates most with you - vibrant peridot, dazzling spinel, or banded sardonyx?
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