August's Birthstone: Peridot, Spinel, and Sardonyx

Peridot Earrings by Katie Poterala

People born in the month of August are so lucky! They get the choice from three gems for their birthstone: peridot, sardonyx or spinel.

The most popular gemstone of the three for the month of August is peridot. Peridot is a gorgeous chartreuse green to olive green shaded stone and is sometimes mistaken for an emerald or topaz. In fact many times it’s referred to as an “evening emerald” since the finer quality peridots become brighter when viewed under artificial light.

Green is the most popular shade of peridot but it has some variations: fayalite which can produce green, yellowish, amber brown, brown, and olive green stones, forsterlite which can produce a green or or pale yellow colored stone, and tephroite. Its shade depends on its source.

Peridot is formed deep in the earth and has been brought to the surface by volcanoes that erupted thousands of years ago. The rarest form of peridot comes to earth in meteorites! Today’s gemstones are mined primarily in China, Pakistan and here in the United States they are found in Arizona and New Mexico.

Prized as a jewelry stone ever since ancient Egyptian times. Peridot comes from the Arabic word "faridat" which means "gem". In ancient times it was often associated with light and was called "the gem of the sun" by ancient Egyptians. Ancient papyri recorded the mining of peridot as early as 1500 BC. The most known mining place of peridot during ancient Egypt was Topazo Island (today it is known as Zarbargad or St. John's Island) in the Red Sea. Miners would actually work day and night because the gem could be found in the dark due to its radiance. The miners would mark the spot of the gem at night and then dig it out during the day.

Ancient Egyptians and Greeks both used peridot in jewelry, weapons and talismans. It has always been regarded as a symbol of the sun and was believed that wearing peridot brought royal dignity and kept away evil spirits. 

Often mistaken for emerald (or even topaz), peridot is thought to be the gem of some famous jewelry. Some historians believe that Cleopatra's emerald collection was actually peridot. It is also thought that the “topaz” mentioned in the Old Testament was actually peridot. 

Peridot's bright green hue is often thought to bring harmony of the body and mind, good health, peacefulness, and restful sleep. It is known as the stone of compassion and is thought to calm anger by giving renewal to all things, especially when set in stone which is thought to ward off nightmares.


If green isn’t your color then check out the earthy richness of sardonyx. These stones are a member of the silica family and most are white, gray or cream banded with brown/red/rust layers. In fact, the word “sardonyx” comes from two Greek words, “sard” meaning reddish brown and “onyx” meaning veined gem.

In addition to being used in August birthstone jewelry, sardonyx is most often seen in both cameos and intaglios. Sardonyx is mined throughout the world, with the highest quality stones found in India.


Spinel Gemstones

Perhaps you want a stone that encourages passion, then spinel is the gem for you! This fiery stone is thought to produce longevity and devotion. This gemstone is even thought to have healing effects, calming all types of physical inflammations.

Spinel comes in a wide range of stunning of colors: intense red, vibrant pink, orange, purple, violet, blue and bluish green. For centuries, spinel was mistaken for other gemstones. Some of history's most famous “rubies” have actually turned out to be this August birthstone.

Gifting Peridot: 
Peridot is always a perfect gift for an August baby, but it is also the customary 1st and 16th wedding anniversary gift.
Peridot Care: 
Peridots are classified with a hardness of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale, making them somewhat soft. The best option for cleaning is warm, soapy water with a soft brush, although ultrasonic and steam cleaners are an alternative.

Gifting SardonyxSardonyx is a perfect alternative gift to peridot for August baby's.
Sardonyx Care: 
Sardonyx are classified with a hardness of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale, making them somewhat soft. The best option for cleaning is warm, soapy water with a soft brush, although ultrasonic and steam cleaners are an alternative.

Gifting Spinel: A customary 9th, 16th, 22nd, and 65th wedding anniversary gift.
Spinel Care: 
Spinel are classified with a hardness of 7.5-8 on the Mohs hardness scale, making them very sturdy stones. Although it is best to clean spinel in warm, soapy water, ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe as well.

Browse Peridot  jewelry on MAKE MADE