Symbolism and Meanings
Trust, love, loyalty and faithfulness, happiness and good luck.
The birthstone for August is the peridot, which is a light green, translucent stone. The peridot is a sheer form of olivine and is made of a composite of magnesium iron silicates. The highest quality of these stones are sometimes referred to as evening emeralds, since they favor in artificial light. These stones are mined all over the world.
Gregorian Birthstone Poem
There is a Gregorian calendar birthstone poem for each month in the year. The August verse is shown below:
Wear a Peridot or for thee,
No conjugal felicity;
The August-born without this stone,
`Tis said, must live unloved and lone.
—Gregorian Birthstone Poems
Note: Sardonyx was also used as the birthstone for August in the past and is still used in addition to Peridot in the UK today.
Peridots were first found on the island of ‘Zabargad’ (also know as ‘St. John’s Island’, ‘Zebirget’ and ‘Topazios’). Zabargad is the largest island in ‘Foul Bay’, a place in the Red Sea, Egypt. Though no plants grow there, it was said that the water near the beach had a green cast from the many tiny peridots and olivine lining it. It is believed that early crusaders who visited this island were the first to show these stones in Europe.
Interestingly, the greek name ‘Topazios’ is thought to give the name to the Topaz gemstone.
As peridot is a gem quality form of olivine, chrysolite is another yellowish-green or brownish variety of olivine. In ancient times chrysolite was used but it is believed to have actually been the peridot stone that was present on items such as breastplates worn by priests. It is mentioned in the bible and many early Christians wore it as a symbol of their purity. Some bishops of the Catholic church still wear an amethyst and peridot ring to signify their morality.
The largest peridot currently in existence is on display at the Smithsonian and weighs an astonishing 310 lbs., with a 192 lb. peridot that is part of Russia’s crown jewels coming in at a close second.
Peridots are one of the few gemstones that only come in one color, which is usually a pale green. However, the shades can vary from a light green to an olive brown tone. The rarity of these comes not from their color or their availability, but rather from the fact that so few are of gemstone quality.
The dictionary.com definition of Peridot is “a green transparent variety of olivine, used as a gem”.
Origin of the word Peridot
The word Peridot comes from old french ‘Peridot’. The true origin is unknown.
Peridot is a gem quality variety of olivine. It is always green, in particular, an olive green. The color varies slightly with the amount of iron present in the mineral crystal structure and the most valued color is a dark olive green. Peridot has the formula (Mg, Fe)2SiO4 and has an orthorhombic crystal system. Peridot has a hardness of 6.5 – 7 on Mohs scale. It has a vitreous luster and a specific gravity of 3.2 – 4.3.
Read more about Peridot (coming soon)
Read more about Olivine (coming soon)
Natural or Synthetic
Peridots aren’t usually synthesized. However, there is a stone being sold called synthetic forsterite that is not a bad representation of the peridot. If you want the real thing, be sure to stay with an accredited jeweler, as they will be able to tell the difference.