For many years, people born in August were lucky to have two official birthstones— the peridot and the sardonyx. But in 2016, they got triple lucky with the GIA’s addition of spinel to the list of August birthstones!
Learn more about the triple gemstones of August, courtesy of GIA.org:
The Ancient Sardonyx:
- The original birthstone of August, the sardonyx, dates back more than 4,000 years.
- Sardonyx is a combination of two types of cryptocrystalline quartz (chalcedony): sard and onyx. Bands of brownish red to brown to dark orange sard alternate with typically white or black layers of onyx.
- The word ‘sardonyx’ is derived from ‘sard,’ meaning ‘reddish-brown,’ and ‘onyx,’ meaning ‘veined gem.’
- Roman seals and signet rings were made from sardonyx, since hot wax won’t stick to it.
- Roman soldiers wore their sardonyx rings with carved images of Mars in them for protection in battle.
- For thousands of years, sardonyx was a popular material for carving cameos and intaglios.
- During the Renaissance, sardonyx was often worn by public speakers to make them more visible to the audience.
- Today, this August birthstone is believed to bring stability to marriage and partnerships and represents courage, happiness and clear communication.
- India is known for producing sardonyx with good contrast between the different colored layers. Sardonyx is also found in Brazil, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Madagascar, Uruguay, the US and other countries.
The Popular Peridot:
- Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral olivine, and ranges in color from yellow-green to lime-green.
- Peridot is formed in one of two ways, magma deep in the earth’s mantle brought to the surface by volcanic or tectonic activity, or via pallasite (nickel-iron and olivine) meteorites that have landed on earth.
- The word ‘peridot’ is derived from the Greek word ‘peridona,’ which means ‘to give richness.’
- Peridot is also known as ‘chrysolite,’ derived from the Greek ‘gold stone’ and ‘olivine.’
- Peridot is the stone given to celebrate a 16th wedding anniversary.
- Peridot is an ancient gem which can be found in Egyptian jewelry from the early 2nd millennium BC. Today, it’s the national gem of Egypt, where it’s referred to as the “gem of the sun.”
- The ancient Romans called peridot “the evening emerald” because of its deep green color when reflected by lamplight.
- The Egyptian island of Zabargad (the name now given to Topazios) is the oldest recorded source of this August birthstone. Mining may have begun around 340–279 BCE.
- Other sources of peridot include China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Tanzania, Vietnam and the United States, including Peridot Beach, Hawaii, where the sands shimmer a luminous green, and the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, where some Apache families have worked the mines for decades.
The New Addition, Spinel:
- The name ‘spinel’ comes from the Latin word ‘spina,’ which means ‘thorn,’ in reference to the shape of spinel crystals.
- This August birthstone comes in a wealth of colors: intense red, vibrant pink, orange, purple, violet, blue and bluish-green.
- For centuries, spinel was mistaken for other gemstones. Some of history’s most famous “rubies” have actually turned out to be red spinel, including the approximately 170 ct “Black Prince’s Ruby,” which was discovered to be spinel in the 18th century based on the chemical differences between the two gemstones. It’s now set in the Imperial State Crown and can be seen in the Tower of London.
- Major sources of spinel include Tajikistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Tanzania and Pakistan. Some regions are known for producing amazing colored spinel, like hot pink and red from Myanmar and Sri Lanka’s blue, pink and purple spinel.
If you’re looking to buy as a birthday gift for a loved one born in August, or some gemstone jewelry for yourself, Adina by Empire Jewelers has a beautiful collection of estate and vintage jewelry, available at true wholesale prices. Shop online today and enjoy our vast selection of fine estate and vintage jewelry, plus watches, diamonds, gold, sterling silver, coins and more. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.