What is the birthstone for August? It seems that people born in this month are controversial, as there are so many stones appropriate for it. Currently accepted opinion is that August Birthstone is Peridot. However, contemporary and ancient charts alike contain other stones that fit people born in August. The US diagram dated 1912 also includes Sardonyx. This list matches with the British dated 2013. The current US catalog of Birthstones also includes Spinel. At the same time, the ancient sources tell us that Carnelian, Moonstone, and Topaz also correlate to the month of August. We’d like to describe Peridot because exactly that gem is in the US and British listings alike.
In fact, Peridot is chemically Chrysolite. This name derived from the ancient Greek χρυσός or more accurately chrysós. This word means “gold.” The second part of the name is λίθος, that means “stone.” Summing up both parts, we can get “Golden Stone.” The American jewelers used to call this stone Peridot, and its variety, Olivine. As you can guess, the latter takes its name from the color of an olive.
History & Origin
As many other gems, the first specimens of this stone were obtained in upper Egypt. However, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Pegu (presently part of Myanmar) can be considered a birthplace of Peridot. But the deposits of this gemstone also locate in Brazil, Scotland, and Mexico. The specimens called “Olivine” of volcanic origin. But some varieties of this stone came to Earth from space as the particles of meteorites. In fact, nobody knows the indeed place of origin of this gem. There are no reliable sources that prove that Chrysolite mentioned in the ancient books was Peridot or Olivine. For the centuries, jewelers have been taking Chrysoberyl for Chrysolite. But true Chrysolite softer than then Chrysoberyl. But it wins in luster and color compared to the rival.
There are too many opinions concerning the actual color of August Birthstone. It depends on what exactly stone we mean. If we’re talking about Olivine, it’s a yellowish emerald-green variety of Chrysolite. At the same time, more yellowish Chrysolite, resembling Tourmaline it’s indeed Peridot. The color of Olivine also defines as olive-green, whence its name. When you purchase jewelry, you must take into account, that yellowish-green gemstones, called “Olivine” are in fact the Russian demantoids, more known as “Green Garnets.”
Magical & Healing Properties
We can meet various mentions of Peridot (under the name Chrysolite) in several ancient sources, Medieval treatises, and even the Bible. Diodorus Siculus said that Chrysolite is the gemstone which is capable of changing its color during the day and becoming exceptionally bright at night. Thereby, he emphasizes the ability of this stone to supervise its owner. This gem was set into the Ring of Hermes during the Ceremony of the Beetle (Scarabaeus). As described, he presented a vessel (most likely a model) made of Chrysolite. The ancients realized the divine origin of this gemstone. Therefore, they regarded Peridot as a deity. Modern sources tell us that Peridot fits Leo and correlates with Gladiolus, a birth flower of August. Read more about Peridot.