August’s Birthstone -Peridot

Alternate birthstone: Sardonyx
Ancient birthstone: Sardonyx, carnelian, moonstone and topaz
Zodiac stones for Leo July 23-August 22: Onyx
Virgo August 23-September 22: Carnelian

Strands of peridot beads

Strands of peridot beads

Lucky are those born in the heat of the summer month of August! Their birthstone, Peridot, is a vivid green with hints of gold to match the saturated summer colors. The gem form of olivine, peridot’s chemical composition, iron magnesium silicate produces the intense green-gold color of peridot. Shades of peridot can spread over the green-yellow-brown spectrum, depending on the area the stone is mined and the amount of iron in the material. Peridot is never manmade, or treated to change its color, common mistaken identities could be green garnet, emerald, tourmaline and glass.

With a hardness on 6.5-7 on the Moh’s scale it is a fairly sturdy stone, it should be protected from acids, abrasive rubbing on harder materials and not steam or ultrasonically cleaned. The island of Zabargad, which means ‘Olivine’ in Arabic) east of Egypt in the Red Sea was the primary source of peridot for the Egyptians and the ancient world. Peridot was made into beads and cabochons set into religious artifacts as well as royal jewels. Currently mined in several locations around the world including Hawaii, Arizona, Burma, Afghanistan, China and a particularly fine deposit in Kashmir, Pakistan. It is also a stone mined in antiquity. Peridot is a generous metaphysical stone; it helps with overall wellness, especially to the internal digestive system, is good for producing restful sleep and even assists in financial matters.

Sardonyx is the alternate birthstone for August, a stone with alternating reddish-brown (sard) and white (agate) in parallel bands. Its name and appearance can be confusing as well as common variations on its name. Sard is a deep brownish red stone (in the microcrystalline quartz family) onyx is the name applied to the black and white banded or wholly black stone. Sardonyx is a member of the onyx family with red instead of black layers. Separating sard and carnelian is more difficult; stones called carnelian (reddish-brown chalcedony) looks very similar to sard. Sard is usually the term describing the darker and more brownish material with out layers.  Its most popular use of Sardonyx  is for carving cameos, intaglio cabochons, cabochons and beads. The layers of white are carved in different depths with the colored material forming the background. Sardonyx is a 7 on the Moh’s scale, very durable, but soft enough for carving. Mined widely around the world. Brazil, Madagascar, India and Uruguay are large producers.  Sardonyx is the stone for students as it helps to assist in the processing and retention of new information. It is known to increase stamina, self-control, as an aid to happy relationships, and encourage an optimistic outlook.

Sardonyx cameo ring.

Sardonyx cameo ring.

Suggestions for using peridot or sardonyx in your designs

Mix the lush green-gold of peridot with gold beads for a classic look that Cleopatra could have envied! A lighter touch of peridot could be to mix peridot with either crystal quartz, green aquamarine, or green kyanite. The reddish-brown and white of Sardonyx has an ageless quality, mix it with oxidized silver for a traditional piece or look to white agate, gray moonstone or dark carnelian for good color matches.

Read more about peridot at the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) website.

About Emily Miller
Beads make me happy. I need to work with my hands everyday to connect with the artist within. Teaching others spreads the bead joy.....

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