We have a birthday present for those born in August: the stunning spinel has been added to your month’s birthstone lineup! August now joins June and December as the only months represented by three gems.
The original birthstone for August was Sardonyx, and then peridot was added, becoming August’s primary gem. Now spinel adds its multitude of color choices!
HOW TO BUY PERIDOT
Peridot can be assessed with the same criteria as diamonds—using color, clarity, cut and karat weight to determine value.Whether you’re shopping for an August birthday or a 16th wedding anniversary, peridot makes the perfect gift that will leave others green with envy.
The finest peridots have a lovely lime green hue without any hints of brown or yellow. Quality gems have no inclusions visible to the naked eye, though dark spots may be evident under a microscope. When you look closely, due to double refraction, you may see two of each facet on a peridot.
Thanks to rich deposits of peridot that were discovered in Pakistan in the 1990s, the gem is relatively inexpensive in smaller grain sizes but prices increase for larger stones. Commercially-mined peridots typically measure six to 13 millimeters, so faceted stones are generally about one karat in size.
Flawless peridots over five karats are particularly rare, though stones as large as 22 karats have been cut from basalt rock in Arizona—where most of the world’s peridot is found. The world’s largest peridot is a 310-carat gem in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
Thankfully, there’s now enough raw material on the market so that the perfect peridot can be found to fit any taste or budget.
Though peridot is widely recognized by its brilliant lime green glow, the origin of this gem’s name is unclear. Most scholars agree that the word “peridot” is derived from the Arabic faridat which means “gem,” but some believe it’s rooted in the Greek word peridona, meaning “giving plenty.” Perhaps that’s why peridot is associated with prosperity and good fortune.
Peridot is the rare gem-quality variety of the common mineral olivine, which forms deep inside the earth’s mantle and is brought to the surface by volcanoes. In Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the volcano goddess of fire who controls the flow of lava.
Rarely, peridot is also found inside meteorites.
Peridot’s signature green color comes from the composition of the mineral itself—rather than from trace impurities, as with many gems. That’s why this is one of few stones that only comes in one color, though shades may vary from yellowish-green to olive to brownish-green, depending how much iron is present.
Peridot only measures 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, so while the raw crystal is prone to cracking during cutting, the finished gemstones are fairly robust and easy to wear.Most of the world’s peridot supply comes from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Other sources are China, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Africa.
Also known as “the Evening Emerald” because its sparkling green hue looks brilliant any time of day, peridot is said to possess healing properties that protect against nightmares and evil, ensuring peace and happiness. Babies born in August are lucky to be guarded by peridot’s good fortune.