Mobile Top Button Desktop Top Button

The History and Meaning Behind August’s Three Birthstones: Peridot, Spinel, and Sardonyx

Celebrate the August birthday in your life with the gift of birthstone jewelry 

August is one of the two months lucky enough to hold three unique gemstones: peridot, spinel, and sardonyx. Read on to learn more about the history behind these distinctive gemstones what makes them so enchanting. 

What is the meaning of the August birthstone? 

Although peridot, spinel, and sardonyx are all considered August birthstones – peridot is the most popular and well known. Known as a symbol of opportunity and prosperity, this vibrant yellow-green gemstone is beloved by many. Peridot is also believed to bring the wearer confidence, power, general good luck, and health. 

What is the original birthstone for August? 

Sardonyx was the first August birthstone dating back to ancient Egyptian times. Soldiers wore this stone during battle as they saw it as a sign of strength and protection. 

Why does August have three birthstones? 

A classic case of mistaken identity is part of the reason why August has three unique birthstones. Sardonyx, a stone that ranges from amber to bright green in color, was the original August birthstone. Due to its similar coloring, peridot was often mistaken for sardonyxand was eventually adopted as the second August birthstone. Spinel was added as an alternate gemstone for August in 2016 in an effort to make modern updates to the birthstone list.  

Peridot Birthstone History and Meaning 

Peridots have been steeped in myth for thousands of years. The Egyptians called peridot the “gem of the sun,” and some thought it even protected against nightmares. Peridots are also closely connected to 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. 

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 exists in subtle shades of green. 

Peridot ranges in color from yellowish lime green to deep, earthy olive tones, making them a highly sought-after choice for jewelry. These gemstones are a wonderful option for those who love green gemstones but are looking for a less expensive alternative to emeralds, as certain shades of peridot can easily be confused with emeralds. When set against lustrous sterling silver, peridots can show off their fresh, vibrant sparkle. 

Peridot Jewelry Cleaning and Care

Peridot is a relatively soft stone ranking at a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it durable enough for everyday jewelry but should be treated with care to avoid scratching. We recommend cleaning your peridot with mild soap and warm water, followed up by drying with a soft towel.  

Spinel Birthstone History and Meaning 

Long mistaken for rubies by ancient rulers and monarchs, this unique gemstone has recently surged in popularity. First mined in abundance in Southeast Asia, Spinel was initially mistaken for a ruby. The gemstone was beloved by royalty and spread in popularity through Asia and Europe. Legend has it that spinel gemstones are associated with revitalization and are said to inspire, refresh, energize, and give endurance to its wearer. 

Today, spinel has recently regained popularity as the demand for rubies has increased. Although vibrant red and cobalt blue spinel are most sought after – this stunning gemstone comes in virtually every color of the rainbow. These gemstones are a wonderful option for those who love red and blue gemstones but are looking for a lower price point to rubies and sapphires. 

Spinel Cleaning and Care Tips

Spinel gemstones rank an 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness and may require a little extra care due to their softness. We recommend removing your spinel jewelry before doing activities that may cause surface scratching to your gemstone such as exercising or outdoor activities. Spinel is also sensitive to intense heat and can potentially start to fade in color with prolonged exposure. An effective at-home care routine for your spinel jewelry consists of washing your pieces with warm soapy water and gently scrubbing with a soft bristled toothbrush, followed up by completely drying your jewelry and storing in a dry environment. 

Sardonyx Birthstone History and Meaning 

Used as a stone of strength and protection since ancient Egyptian times, sardonyx is associated with bravery, happiness, and optimism. Sardonyx has long been believed to absorb negative energy from its wearer and promote health, positivity, and good fortune.  

This unique semiprecious stone is a variety of silica which contains layers of tiny quartz fibers. These fibers are stacked on top of each other giving the stone a banded or layered appearance. The layers of stone vary in color and range from opaque to brown, and even a vibrant red.  

Sardonyx Cleaning and Care Tips

Sardonyx is a relatively soft stone ranking at a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This may lead you to take extra care and consideration when wearing your favorite sardonyx pieces. We recommend removing your sardonyx jewelry when doing physical activity that may cause abrasions to the surface of your gemstone such as: gardening, housekeeping, and exercise. Care for your sardonyx jewelry by washing your pieces with warm soapy water and gently scrubbing with a soft bristled toothbrush. Be sure to completely dry your jewelry using a soft towel and storing your pieces in a dry environment.  

August Birthstone Jewelry 

If you are looking for a piece of unique jewelry for yourself or someone born in August, (even if that is you!), read on to discover our favorite birthstone jewelry pieces! 

 

Peridot Stud Earrings

Trend forward with classic sophistication, these vibrant peridots are set in comfortable basket settings. 

North Star Peridot Pendant

 

Shining with the constant brightness of the North Star, this lovely pendant features a star-set peridot within a lustrous disc of precious metal. 

Magnolia Peridot Earrings

 

Glimmering peridot rests at the center of these beautiful floral earrings. 

Peridot Bar Pendant

This contemporary design features glimmering peridot set within an elegant silver bar as it hangs gracefully from a classic cable chain. 

Teardrop Peridot Pendant

A pear-shaped peridot rests within a bezel setting with an open back to allow maximum light to reach the gem. This reversible pendant can be worn on either side making it the perfect option for everyday wear. 

North Star Peridot Earrings

These eye-catching earrings feature sparkling peridot at the center of each twinkling silver star. 

Peridot Twist Pendant

This spectacular pendant is crafted in recycled sterling silver and features a vibrant green peridot centered in a delightful sculptural twist. 

Peridot Bezel Bracelet

Both elegant and timeless, this bracelet features a charming bezel-set peridot on a delicate cable chain. 

Unity Peridot Pendant

 

This chic pendant features glistening peridot within a lustrous hoop of precious metal. 

Peridot Bar Bracelet

Both elegant and timeless, this bracelet features a charming bezel-set peridot on a delicate cable chain. 

Final Thoughts 

Which of the three August birthstones would you claim as your favorite? Share with us in the comments below or on our InstagramFacebook, or Twitter! 

Shop the Story

You Might Also Like from the blog

Get Inspired

Tag us on Instagram @brilliantearth

Comments (17)

Rev.Erica Forbes-Lopez Says:
October 11th, 2019 at 3:19 pm

Beautiful color

Isabel Johns Says:
October 10th, 2019 at 12:28 pm

I love the color green. The Olivine green being my favorite. I was born in August of course and enjoy owning some lovely Peridot jewelry.I have drop earrings, a matching necklace and a ring ring. Thank you for asking my opinion.

Tiffany Walker Says:
October 9th, 2019 at 9:28 am

I was never really into the peridot birthstone. I’m an August baby which I’m proud of cause us Leo’s rock. But after reading this story about the peridot birthstone it made me smile..

Rogers Brown Says:
March 22nd, 2018 at 4:06 pm

Born 8/27/1962 my 1st daughter born 8/26/1989 my last daughter born 8/14/13, I have 2 other daughters that are Virgos but born in September. I need to get them all Peridot jewelry they are all very confident and healthy young ladies. Daddy’s girls!!!

Cathy Ann Ford Says:
March 20th, 2018 at 12:32 pm

October13th does my stone mean anything

Joe Dellavalle Says:
March 4th, 2018 at 6:05 pm

I am also an August baby born on the 26th. My mother, had a mother’s ring and from the time I was a little boy the Peridot was my favorite stone. I have a sister born in May & Brother in March and the 3 stones in the mothers ring are beautiful next to each other. But, Peridot is still the best one!

Melanie Says:
March 1st, 2018 at 10:04 pm

My daughters birthday is Aug.9~I would love to custom design a peridot & emerald ring,necklace & bracelet for her 16th birthday.It would be beautiful & original..just like her.

Theresa Says:
February 6th, 2018 at 6:52 pm

I was not born in August but married on August 26, 1967. For our first anniversary my husband gave me a Peridot ring. I have worn it ever since. He passed just before our 50th wedding anniversary and it is still on my wedding finger. It was the best gift he had ever given me. It will be passed to my daughter when I am gone.

Haunani Says:
December 25th, 2017 at 11:58 am

I am from the island of Maui.born on August 31.i am of the Hawaiian heritage on my Mothers side who is of full blood.but not my dad.thou my blood line is only half hawaiian I carry it with much Respect,Grace, and with dignity.In my possession I hold the most Beautiful Peridots stone the Peridot Necklace & Peridot stud Earrings on a gold chain.i truly Love and Embrace my Peridot Stone with all my heart and will never depart from it only to pass it down to my grand-daughter soon.

Jill Hume Says:
December 15th, 2017 at 4:07 pm

Peridot is easily my favorite stone as well as aquamarine, larimar, citrine & amethyst. Actually I love them all!

Lisa Says:
December 9th, 2017 at 5:51 pm

I am an august person the 22nd.and i love the yellowish and green together.its brilliant

Nece Says:
November 29th, 2017 at 6:14 am

My son and granddaughter share August 25 birthdays. Mine is the 20th! We love peridot. I have gifted my granddaughter with several pieces of jewelry in the peridot.

Kerry Nichols Says:
November 27th, 2017 at 10:25 am

Peridot comes in all shades of green and yellow and even Orange. I own a Peridot mine and I found all those colors in that mine in southern Chihuahua Mexico. If you look in the color Encyclopedia of gems by Dr. Joel Arem (former curator of the gemological division of the Smithsonian) you will see photographs of all of those colors!

maxine king Says:
October 25th, 2017 at 3:52 pm

my first born grandchild is an august baby,
having worked in jewelry for 20+ years I was thrilled to buy her first birthstone. In folklore it is said if you give Peridot as a gift it brings the recipient good luck, fortune, and wisdom. Isn’t that a beautiful sentiment to give a new baby girl. I love jewelry and all the stories it has to share!

Dianna Valerio Says:
October 18th, 2017 at 12:23 am

I have always liked the color green

Patchouli Woman Says:
September 6th, 2017 at 12:43 pm

I have my birthstone of Peridot in my high school class ring. It glows under a black light!
I don’t know if this is because of the white gold setting or not. Really amazing!

cindy Ellison Says:
August 15th, 2017 at 7:27 am

The peridot have a sentimental value as it was my mother-in-laws stone. She was a gem herself. I have always loved the colour green and it is a beautiful stone. I was very lucky to be given her ring when she passed.

August Birthstone Jewelry | Brilliant Earth