August’s birthstone is a green gem that everyone will have seen but few can name. It’s the Peridot.
When people think of green gemstones, they think of Emeralds – and rightly so, as they are one of the ‘Big Three’ coloured gemstones, with a rich lush colour which no other gem could possibly imitate… or perhaps something else could?
History now tells us that some of the famous “Emeralds” of the past, such as Cleopatra’s collection of stunning green stones, or the 200-ct. gems adorning the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral were, in fact… Peridot.
Traditionally, Peridot is the birthstone for August, and is also used to celebrate 15 years of marriage.
In recent times, Peridot was used a lot in sterling silver ‘hippy’ type jewellery seen in markets, as it is said to give to fill the wearer with energy, and create happy, light-hearted vibes. However, more and more these days Peridot is used in fine jewellery and given the appreciation it rightly deserves, being set in gold, with diamonds and other precious gemstones.
In gemological terms, Peridot is one of the few gemstones that comes only in nuances of one colour – olive green. It does vary from yellow-green to brownish green, but olive green is the main colour. Peridot comes from the Olivine mineral group, which is a largely magnesium rich mineral, and is the only variety of the olivine which creates gem quality stones.
It’s formed deep within the mantle of the earth, brought to the surface through volcanic activity. Very rarely, it can also be found in meteorites which have fallen to earth.
Mined by the Egyptians on the Red Sea island of Zabargad, Peridot was named the ‘Gem of the Sun’, and many of the large Peridots found in museums all over the world came from that island.
Unfortunately that source has now dried up, and in more recently Peridots have predominantly been mined in Arizona, although beautiful Peridot gemstones have also been found in countries such as Myanmar, Pakistan and Finland.
Peridot doesn’t have a high level of hardness, only 6.5 to 7 on the Moh’s scale, so is best not to be worn every day in a ring, as in will become abraded or scratched over time. Gentle use and wear is advised, or as earrings and pendants.
At The Jewel Box, we have a vast selection of Peridots, and would love the opportunity to discuss your bespoke peridot jewellery needs with us. Call us on +65 6733 4100 to make an appointment.
Know someone who was born in the month of July? Read about July’s birthstone, the ruby.