Peridot: The August Birthstone

The bright, spring-like hues of the peridot gemstone reign supreme in the month of August. Happy birthday to all of you August babies!

Color: Light to dark greenish yellow or yellowish green. A bottle green color is called peridot, yellowish green is called chrysolite and an olive green is called olivine.

Origins: Peridot is sometimes called the volcanic gem because it forms in the rocks created during volcanic activity. The coloring of peridot is the result of iron saturation in the stone; the higher the iron content the darker it will be. Peridot is also a stone that is “out of this world” because the gem crystals have been found in meteorites! The main deposits are found in China, Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, as well as Arizona and New Mexico in the United States.

History: Peridot is an old stone, first mined more than 3,500 years ago on the Isle of Serpents (now St. John’s Island) in the Red Sea. This island provided the Egyptian pharaohs with the dark green stones in their crown jewels. Historians believe that some of the stones thought to be emeralds worn by Cleopatra are actually peridot.

Fun Facts:

  • Hawaii, well known for its volcanoes, does not have many gemstone deposits. Ancient islanders believed that the small peridot that washed up on its shores were the tears of the goddess Pele.
  • In 1749, a meteorite landed in Siberia. It contained many pieces of peridot crystals, some of which were large enough to make into jewelry.
  • Ancient cultures used peridot to treat diseases like asthma, bronchitis, and ulcers.
  • Peridot is associated with springtime and Mother Nature.
  • Napoleon once gave a gift of peridot to Josephine as a symbol of undying love and admiration.
  • The Museum of Natural History in New York City holds one of the finest collections of peridot.
  • Peridot was sacred to early Christians. Today, Catholic Bishops wear a ring of peridot and amethyst as a symbol of purity and morality.
  • Those who wear this green stone will garner success, peace and good luck.

Hardness: 6.5 to 7

Care: Although born of fire this stone does not react well to heat. Avoid sudden temperature changes either hot or cold. Use any commercial jewelry cleaner or plain soap and water and a soft toothbrush to clean. Be sure to thoroughly rinse and dry all your jewelry after cleaning. Because of its relative softness peridot should be stored in a cloth pouch by itself so that it is not scratched or nicked by harder stones or sharp-edges on other pieces of jewelry.

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