With the winter season beginning to wrap up for yet another year, it brings with it the month of August. As many born in the eighth month will know, their special birthstone is the luminous, enchanting peridot. 

With its leaf-green hue, the peridot is at once unassuming yet glamorous, able to add a touch of colour to any silver jewellery, as well as offset any gold pieces

Here’s an insight into this wonderful gemstone and its background as a birthstone. 

Taking a peek at the history of peridot

The name comes from the French word, “peridot”, first used in the early 1700s as a replacement for the more antiquated “peritot”, according to Merriam Webster. Often yellow-green in colour, the peridot was first believed to be mined by none other than the Ancient Egyptians, who found deposits of the eye-catching stone in the Red Sea. 

According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun”, believing it had properties that could protect the wearer from nightmares and ward off evil spirits. 

The peridot raked in the acclaim in Shakespeare’s time, with the gem considered to be “of exceptional rarity”, according to famed mineralogist George Frederick Kunz. In addition, the 200 carats worth of ’emeralds’ once believed to decorate the shrine to the Three Kings in the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, are in fact, simply beautiful peridots, recounts the GIA. 

Green with envy 

The majority of peridot formed deep underground, with volcanic activity bringing it to the surface, according to the GIA, but there is also evidence of peridot forming in meteorites over 4 billion years old.

Another quality of the stone is how its colour can vary, from paler golden green, to a more intense, almost emerald colour. The gem is coloured by iron, with higher iron content resulting in greener stones, notes the International Coloured Gemstone Association (ICGA). 

While the peridot gets a score of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale for its moderate hardness, the ICGA reports that it is actually fairly solid and easy to look after. If you’re looking for inspiration for an August birthday, take a look through our range of jewellery online, or pop into your local Showcase Jeweller store