August Birthstone: Peridot
In the hot, sticky month of August, peridot (pronounced “PEAR-uh-doe”) is queen. Nicknamed “the evening emerald,” the stone is igneous in origin, meaning it is formed in volcanos. Peridot is a form of the mineral olivine, which is commonly found in rocks carried to the surface by lava. Finding olivine that has actually turned into peridot, however, is rare. Today most peridot stones are found in Arizona, but they are also mined in Arkansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii, Australia, China, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Tanzania, and Brazil. Peridot crystals have even been found in Pallasite meteorites.
Because of its volcanic origin, peridot is said to represent the tears of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes and fire. It is mentioned in the Christian Bible by its Hebrew name, pitdah. Peridot was abundant and culturally significant in ancient Egypt, where it was called the “gem of the sun.” Egyptian priests believed the forces of nature were contained within the stone and drank from cups encrusted with peridot to commune with certain gods, and it is today suspected that the green stones worn by Cleopatra were peridot rather than emerald.
A host of qualities are still associated with the peridot today; it is said to have magical and healing properties and it will bring power, influence, dignity, prosperity, good fortune, and love to one who wears it. One tradition says that people born in August will not find love or a faithful partner unless they wear the gem. It is believed to protect one from envy; ward off nightmares, fear, and depression; increase the effectiveness of medicine; and improve speech.
The color of a peridot can range from yellowish green to brown, but the most popular and prized shades are bright lime and olive greens. Yellow-tinged peridots may be referred to as “chrysolite.” Peridot is an idiochromatic gem, meaning it receives its color from its fundamental chemical makeup, rather than from rare impurities. Unlike most gemstones, such as sapphire and topaz, peridot comes only in shades of one color.
Peridots are usually set in silver or platinum, and their color complements earth and citrus tones. Very small peridots are often made into beads for bracelets or necklaces. Larger stones are used as the focal points of earrings, bracelets, rings, and necklaces. Naturally, the price of a peridot increases with its size in carats, but since peridot prices are on par with other semi-precious stones such as topaz, they are usually much more affordable than diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.
If you think peridots might be right for you, or if you’d like to learn more about this beautiful stone, Copeland Jewelers invites you to beat the heat and come in for a visit! Your jewelry stores in Austin would love to show you our unique selection of peridot jewelry!