The birthstone for August is peridot. It is known for its alluring green colour and vibrant lily pad inclusions. Peridot, chrysolite (from the Greek gold stone) and olivine are the three names attributed to the gem. In addition, olivine is the mineral where the peridot specimen originates.
Peridot is one of the few stones that comes in the colour green. The gem has a long history and contains beautiful yellowish hues. It was initially mined by Ancient Egyptians in the volcanic Red Sea island of Topazios. Nicknamed the “gem of the sun”. The Ancient Egyptians believed peridot was a protector from night terrors.
The stone is sometimes given to celebrate the 16th year of marriage. Those born under the star sign of Leo are often seen sporting the gemstone.
Some of the earliest peridot examples date back billions of years. Ancient peridot is unlikely to be used in jewellery.
The stone has throughout history been confused with emeralds. In the famous tomb of the Biblical Magi in Cologne, Germany, otherwise known as the shrine of the three holy kings, there is a very large 200ct peridot which was originally believed to be an emerald.
The stone also became the favourite of King Edward VII.