Peridot - August Birthstone

Best known for its lime-green color, Peridot receives its envious coloration from the composition of the mineral Olivine. This is unlike many other gems, whose colors come from impurities in the Mineral composition. It is one of the few gemstones that comes in a single color, also. Peridot can vary in shade from yellow-green to olive to brown-green.

Peridots are made up of a chemical composition that includes iron and magnesium, and the color depends on the amount and type of iron that is present. Ferrous iron (FeO) creates the green color, while ferric iron (Fe2O3) is responsible for the more yellow shades.

The peridot has become the gem most often associated with those born in the final full month of summer, but sardonyx was the traditional birthstone for August. Even more recently, spinel was been added to the list of August birthstones.

For years, peridot beads and talismans were believed to offer protection, as well as promote love, happiness, and wealth.

The word peridot comes from the Arabic “faridat,” which means “gem.” From the earliest times, people confused this stone with other gems. It was one of many labeled as “topaz.”

Early records indicate that the ancient Egyptians mined a beautiful green gem on an island in the Red Sea called Topazios, now known as St. John’s Island or Zabargad.  Pliny the Elder, an ancient Roman naturalist, is among those who have written about the island and its gemstones.  Some historians believe that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection might actually have been peridot.

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