August Birthstones: Peridot and Spinel
7 Minute Read
What is the August Birthstone?
Periodot and spinel are the modern birthstones for August. Those born in this month are fortunate to be able to choose between the playful shades of light green with peridot and rich shades of purple, pink or blue with spinel.
Peridot is one of the modern birthstones for the month of August. Also known as the "sun gem," this semi-precious stone has the chemical formula, (Mg,Fe)2 SiO4. Peridot is primarily made up of olivine, magnesium, and iron. The amount of iron present in peridot gives it its unique color and luster.
Peridot is also called the "evening emerald" because of its unique capacity to sparkle under natural or artificial light. However, it should not be confused with emerald because peridot has its own distinct characteristics setting it apart from other gemstones.
Peridot has been found in fallen meteorites and in volcanic lava, adding to its mystic allure and power. Peridot found in fallen meteorites known as Pallasite Meteorites are often too small to be used in jewelry, but larger stones commonly found in the earth's upper mantle and brought to the surface by lava are large and preferred by jewelers.
What is the August Birthstone Color?
Peridot is predominantly natural light green in color, but yellow stones have also been found. The color intensity of peridot depends on the amount of iron ore present in the stone. The more iron present, the more distinct the gem and the more valuable it is.
What is the August Birthstone Meaning?
Peridot's bright green color is synonymous with good health, peace and harmony. It is popularly known as the gem of compassion - a stone that makes all things new. Wear peridot for restful sleep. This stone can help you calm down if you are prone to anger. Peridots are also said to cure depression.
If you are celebrating your 15th wedding anniversary, Peridot is the stone for you and your loved one to commemorate this milestone.
Where Does Peridot Come From?
First found in Egypt, Peridot is the national gem for Egypt. It is believed to have adorned Queen Cleopatra VII, the great and last queen of Egypt from 51-30BC.
Found also in Hawaii, peridot is a big part of the Hawaiian people's culture. They believe Peridot to be the tears of the volcanic goddess, Pele.
The Vietnamese peridot discovered in the 1990s is very popular with jewelers for its varied shades of green, while Myanmar is home to the large Burmese peridot loved for its large cuts and rich color.
Other Peridots come from the United States of America and China. The Hubei peridot, found in the Hubei Province of China, boasts mesmerizing yellow undertones. The Chinghai peridot, which occurs in brightly colored green, is highly valued and makes beautiful jewelry on its own or in combination with other gemstones used in jewelry making.
Is Peridot Durable?
Peridot is a durable and pretty hard gem, measuring between 6.5- 7 on the Mohs scale. It has a refractive index of 1.65-1.69, making it suitable for a variety of jewelry pieces, from rings to earrings, bracelets, and pendants.
Where Can I Buy Peridot Jewelry?
Peridot can be bought from a variety of established brick-and-mortar jewelry stores, and more online retailers are starting to carry them. Check out James Allen, Blue Nile, CustomMade, and Angara.com as these are a few of our favorites.
Frequently Asked Questions About Peridot
One of the modern birthstones for August is spinel, along with peridot. Even though spinel has long been overshadowed by ruby and sapphire, this remarkable gem is finally gaining the recognition it deserves. In fact, it has often been mistaken for corundum - the family of gemstones to which rubies and sapphires belong. This confusion arose from their striking similarity in color and the fact that they are often found in the same locations. However, spinel is chemically different from ruby or sapphire.
What Color is the August Birthstone?
Spinel comes in a variety of other colors, including orange, pink, purple, and even black. The rarest and most popular colors of spinel are red and blue, as top-color spinel can shine as brightly and vividly as better-known counterparts ruby and sapphire. Since they are the most sought-after, blue and red colored spinel are also the most expensive. Pink spinel has become very popular for its hot pink or bubblegum colors, which can be used to create a perfect piece of romantic, feminine jewelry. Black spinel has become recently trendy for its unique black color and resemblance to black diamonds.
No matter the color, the saturation of a spinel gem will have the greatest impact on its price, so the richest, brightest colors will have the biggest price tag. Some especially rare spinel even exhibit a jaw-dropping color-change effect, where they will change from one color to another under incandescent light.
What is the Meaning of Spinel?
The word spinel may be derived from the Latin word spina for "thorn." This alludes to spinel's spine-shaped crystals. Due to spinel being confused for ruby and sapphire for so long, it does not have the same ancient traditions and beliefs associated with it as many other gemstones. Still, the gem has been associated with joy and energy and is believed to bring feelings of positivity to the wearer. It is also believed to inspire a sense of relaxation for those who work too much or have trouble unwinding.
Where Does Spinel Come From?
Spinel was generally mined in locations where you will also find ruby and sapphire deposits; namely, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. However, spinel has been discovered more recently in various sites including Africa, Australia, Russia, and Vietnam.
The origin of the stone can significantly influence the price. A red spinel from Myanmar (formerly Burma) or Tanzania (the Mahenge mine) is much rarer than a diamond and can cost thousands of dollars per carat.
Is Spinel Durable?
Spinel has a hardness of 8 out of 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it a very durable gem for everyday use in spinel jewelry. It also has a high refractive index - meaning, it sparkles! - and the stone is quite affordable when compared with ruby or sapphire.
A red spinel stone from Myanmar is rarer than a diamond and can cost thousands of dollars per carat.
How to Buy Spinel Jewelry
Unfortunately, spinel jewelry is not easy to find either in-person or online. Most of the larger retailers don't carry spinel because the stone isn't as popular as sapphire, rubies, or emeralds. The best place to shop for high-quality spinel jewelry is CustomMade, which will source a high-quality stone that fits your budget and create a bespoke setting just for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Spinel
Citrine Engagement Ring Guide
Gemstone Cufflinks Guide
Ten Big, Beautiful, and Affordable Engagement Ring Stones
Weaved Bracelets of Trabzon
Pricing Faceted Gems and Calculating Your Return
Gemology Book Reviews: Careers
Augelite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information
Six Famous Aquamarines
Never Stop Learning
When you join the IGS community, you get trusted diamond & gemstone information when you need it.
Get Gemology Insights
Get started with the International Gem Society’s free guide to gemstone identification. Join our weekly newsletter & get a free copy of the Gem ID Checklist!