Glittering green peridot is the birthstone for those born in the month of August, and there are quite a few of you! According to government stats, the month of August had the highest birth rate for ten years between 1990 and 2006. It was barely beat out by July for the other six years! So if you are among the approximately 9% of the population that can lay claim to this stunning gemstone, or if you know someone who is (you probably do) then read on to discover what makes peridots so enchanting.
Peridot is a rare gemstone that only occurs naturally in one color. It is a form of Olivine (think olive green) a mineral composed of magnesium and iron. With the inclusion of outside elements, certain gemstones can occur in every color of the rainbow. Peridot, however, only comes in subtle shades of green. It will never be blue, red, purple, orange, or anything else! It is unique in its specificity.
All peridots came to exist on Earth in one of two ways: they either formed deep underground at high temperatures or caught a ride on flaming meteorites (called pallasite meteorites). Peridot from asteroids is extremely rare and valuable, but lucky for us, the United States has a steady supply of peridots made underground. Brilliant Earth sources our stunning peridots from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, where Native American community members revere the land and use low-impact mining techniques. These gemstones provide Native Americans with safe, secure livelihoods in an otherwise isolated area.
PERIDOT HISTORY AND MYTHOLOGY
Peridots have been steeped in myth for thousands of years. Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), an ancient naturalist, first recorded the existence of peridot on a small island off the coast of Egypt. He originally called the stone “topazios” and described it as a gem that was commonly green but also occurred with yellowish tones. He named that island Topazios, after the gem, but it was later renamed St. John’s Island or Zabargad. This island was closely guarded by the ancient Egyptians because it was thought to be the site of priceless treasures. It is widely believed that some of Cleopatra’s famous emeralds were actually peridots!
The Egyptians called peridot the “gem of the sun,” and some thought that it protected against nightmares. It was also believed to bring the wearer confidence, power, and general good luck and health. Peridots are also closely connected to the Hawaiian culture—they are thought to be the tears of the volcano goddess Pele. The sand on the Big Island’s Papakolea Beach is a rare and beautiful green hue due to a high content of crushed olivine.
AUGUST BIRTHSTONE JEWELRY
Peridot ranges in color from yellowish lime green to deep, earthy olive tones, making them a very sought after jewelry choice. These gemstones are a wonderful option for those who love green gemstones but are looking for an option at a lower price point than emeralds. Certain shades of peridot can easily be confused with emeralds! When set against lustrous sterling silver, peridots can show off their fresh, vibrant sparkle.
If you are looking for a piece of unique jewelry for an August baby (even if that’s you!) consider our Silver Peridot Twist Pendant or our Silver Peridot Stud Earrings. Or, if you’d like a bit of icy sparkle alongside the bright green of our Arizona peridots, Silver Peridot and Diamond Stud Earrings are the perfect choice. One famous fan of peridot earrings is the Duchess of Cambridge, or Princess Kate, who has frequently been seen in a pair of peridot, blue topaz, and diamond earrings.
VINTAGE PERIDOT JEWELRY
Peridot is frequently found in vintage jewelry from the Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Nouveau eras. King Edward VII (for whom the Edwardian era is named) declared it his favorite gemstone, which made it a popular choice for his subjects. Art Nouveau era jewelers favored colorful, semi-precious stones such as peridot.
MOTHER’S JEWELRY AND ANNIVERSARY RINGS
Peridot gemstones would be a lovely addition to a mother’s ring or pendant. These rings and pendants feature the birthstones of each child and occasionally the parents as well. The stones are normally lined up in a row in order of birth, but you can be as creative as you’d like! If you would like to custom design a peridot mother’s ring or pendant, contact one of our design experts today. Peridot is also the official anniversary gift for 16th anniversaries—though we don’t think you should have to wait for sixteen years before asking for a gift of peridot jewelry.
CARING FOR PERIDOT
Peridot is durable enough for everyday wear in jewelry, but should be treated with care to avoid scratching. Clean your peridot with mild soap and warm water.
As August passes by, we would like to wish a very happy birthday to 9% of the population. Embrace your green, ancient, cosmic, ethically mined birthstone!