August has two birthstones, peridot and sardonyx. Peridot is a transparent form of olivine which is formed due to volcanic activity It ranges in color from olive green to lime green, sometimes with a brownish tinge to it, depending on the mineral content. The green color comes from its iron content and the brownish hue is from a higher iron content. Quality peridot are sometimes referred to as "Evening Emeralds" because they appear greener under artificial light.
This gemstone is associated with prosperity, growth, dignity, and love. It is also believed to have the power to ward away evil and nightmares. Peridot is believed to bring peace and progress to one’s life. In ancient times, Egypt was the primary source of peridot and was known as the 'Gem of the Sun'. Peridot is currently mined in Burma, Norway, Brazil, China, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Australia, and Mexico. Small stones can also be found in Arizona. Peridot has also been found in some meteorites.
Peridot is one of the oldest known gemstones. It was believed that the gemstones worn by the Queen Cleopatra were not emeralds as was believed in history but may have actually been peridot. References to the August gemstone have also been found in the Bible, going by its Hebrew name ‘Pitdah’. The “topaz” on the breastplate of Aaron, in the Old Testament, was believed to actually be peridot. Ancient Egyptians, around 1580 B.C. to 1350 B.C., created beads from peridot. For Greeks and Romans, peridot was in popular use as intaglios, rings, inlays, and pendants. The Crusaders thought that peridots were emeralds, and brought them back to Europe where they were featured as ornaments in churches. The most sought after and expensive peridots are of the lime-green color not having any brown or yellow hue.
Sardonyx is a variety of the silica mineral called chalcedony. This sort of mineral contains layers of tiny quartz fibers, which are stacked on top of each other to give a banded appearance. The layers in these stones range from translucent to opaque.
Sardonyx can vary in color from white or gray to more colorful varieties such as browns and reds. The best stones are found in India but can also be found in Germany, Czechoslovakia, Brazil, and Uruguay. Here at home In the United States, you can find sardonyx in the Lake Superior region and in Oregon.
Cameos and intaglios are often carved from sardonyx. Sardonyx is a relatively common and inexpensive gemstone and was a favorite in ancient times because it was attractive, but also because it was could be found readily. Unlike most rare gemstones that could only be bought by the wealthy, sardonyx could be obtained by many people.
Roman soldiers wore sardonyx talismans to guard from evil and bring good fortune engraved with heroes such as Hercules or Mars, god of war. It was believed that the stone would make the wearer as brave and daring as the figured carved on it. During the Renaissance period, sardonyx was thought to bring eloquence to anyone wearing it and was highly valued by public speakers and orators.
Sardonyx is a stone of strength and protection. It is used to enhance willpower, integrity, stamina and vigor. It is also believed to bring lasting happiness and stability to marriage and partnerships. It also attracts friends and good fortune. A lovely stone to have!
I am excited to begin bringing you new information about trends in design and colors as they relate to jewelry and gemstones. I'll also be adding some great links that I've found along the way from professionals in both the fashion and jewelry industries. And I would love to hear from you!