August Birthstone: Peridot (and Sardonyx)
Mohs Hardness: 6.5 – 7
Ok, so August is almost over, as is summer, but it's never too late to celebrate this electric month and it's electric-hued birthstone: Peridot!
Peridot (pronounced per-i-doh) is a green gemstone with a distinctive yellow-green hue. Unlike many gemstones that have color dependent on the presence of trace elements of chemicals present during formation, which results in ranges of colors of a particular stone, Peridot is colored by iron that is part of its crystal structure. This means that Peridot always has the same yellow-green color, making it easily recognizable.
Peridot is typically transparent and has been associated with light since the ancient Egyptians dubbed it the "stone of the sun" when they found it along riverbanks. Today, the U.S. state of Arizona is one of the world's leading producers of peridot.
As far as gemstones go, Peridot is pretty badass. Crystal of Peridot can be found in lava, volcanic rocks, within meteorites that enter the earth's atmosphere, as well as deep within the earth’s mantle. Peridot has even been found as inclusions trapped inside diamonds. It's the ultimate adventuring gemstone!
Though not always present, Peridot can often identified by its beautiful "lily-pad" inclusions. This is the only stone in this color that displays these beautiful discoid fractures. Pretty awesome.
HOLD ON, EVE...
I know what you might be thinking... "Eve, I thought Sardonyx was August's birthstone!". You are not wrong.
So let's talk about Sardonyx:
Mohs Hardness: 6.5
Sardonyx is made up of alternating layers of--you guessed it!--Sard and Onyx, two types of cryptocrystalline quartz, like Chalcedony or Agate. A gemstone that is "crypto" "crystalline" is made up of teeny tiny crystals that can only be seen under high magnification. In Sardonyx, bands of the orange-red Sard colored by iron oxide alternate with the white Onyx to create this gem ideal for carving into intaglios, beads, and cabochons. It is a very abundant gemstone and is therefore not super valuable.
Word on the street is that Tiffany & Co.'s illustrious gemologist George F. Kunz added Peridot as a birthstone for August because it's a bit jazzier and more marketable than Sardonyx. Let's be honest: People love transparent stones and stripes just don't look good on most...
HOLD ON, AGAIN, EVE...
Oh, were you not thinking about Sardonyx? Maybe you were going to say, "Eve, isn't Spinel August's birthstone?".
You are not wrong again! Just like August hogs the sunshine, lobster rolls, and last bits of freedom we experience before heading back to school, so, too, does August hog the birthstone gems.
Because it is so awesome and easily the most under appreciated colored gemstone on the market, let's discuss Spinel in its very own post...