August has 3 birthstones - yes 3 - so if you have summer birthday you're in luck!
Peridot is a yellowish/greenish variety of the mineral olivine. The word “peridot” comes from the Arabic faridat, meaning gem. This birthstone was valued in many ancient and medieval cultures. It appeared in priests’ jewellery as early as the second century BCE and later in the chalices and churches of medieval Europe.
This gem is born from the fiery depths of the Earth, erupting to the surface in volcanic activity. In fact, some Peridot crystals have been found in meteorites, proving that this gem has an extraterrestrial origin too! It’s like wearing a piece of the cosmos - how cool is that?
The peridot birthstone has also been used for centuries as a protective talisman, shielding the owner from evil spirits and “terrors of the night.”
Spinel takes its name from the Latin word spina, which means thorn, in reference to the shape of spinel crystals. This second August birthstone comes in a wealth of colours: intense red, vibrant pink, orange, purple, violet, blue, bluish green and black.
For centuries, spinel was mistaken for other gemstones. Some of history’s most famous “rubies” have actually turned out to be this August birthstone. The approximately 170 ct Black Prince’s “ruby,” for example, was owned by a succession of Moorish and Spanish kings before Edward, Prince of Wales (also known as the Black Prince) received the stone in 1367 as payment for winning a battle on behalf of Peter of Castile. Today, this historic red spinel is set in the UK's Imperial State Crown, just above the 317.40 ct Cullinan II diamond.
Red spinel, along with other red gems, was thought to be a remedy for all types of blood loss and inflammatory diseases. The red gems were believed to ease anger and promote harmony.
Sardonyx is the most ancient of the August birthstones, made up of a combination of two types of chalcedony (cryptocrystalline quartz): sard and onyx. Bands of brownish red to brown to dark orange sard alternate with typically white or black layers of onyx. In ancient times, sardonyx was a popular stone for Roman seals and signet rings, as hot wax would not stick to it. For millennia, the bands of colour in this August birthstone have made it a popular carving material for cameos and intaglios.
Roman soldiers wore sardonyx rings with the image of Mars carved on them for protection in battle. Today, this birthstone is associated with courage, happiness and clear communication, bringing stability to marriage and partnerships.
So there you have it - 3 gemstones to choose from if your birthday falls in August - which one is your fave?
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