August’s Birthstones: Sardonyx, Peridot, Spinel

August birthstone options range from fairly rare to widely available, with the month’s third gemstone officially added fairly recently.

August’s original birthstone, Sardonyx has a long history and occurs in interesting, layered varieties of color.

Peridot, perhaps the most popular option for August birthstones, is relatively rare, in part because of how it is formed.

August’s newest addition, Spinel, actually has a deep and rather regal history.

JUMP TO: Sardonyx | Peridot | Spinel

Sardonyx: August’s Original Birthstone

Sardonyx is the August birthstone that often comes to mind first. After all, it was the original.

It is a combination of two variations of quartz — onyx and sard, which is a type of chalcedony. The combination leads to some fascinating specimens.

This banded gemstone can be striking in appearance and unique from one sample to another.

A semiprecious stone, sardonyx has been used in jewelry and other ornamental objects for centuries.

August Birthstone Sardonyx

Sardonyx Color

Featuring bands of color and sometimes sharp contrast, sardonyx can include sard in orange, reds, browns layered with black or white onyx.

It is even possible to find sardonyx with blues, pinks, and light greens.

Sardonyx Significance

Sardonyx is believed to have a number of metaphysical properties, including promoting courage, strength, and happiness.

Sardonyx is also thought to aid in communication and bring good luck, and is also known as a gem of protection, once believed to ward off evil spirits and protect the wearer from harm.

Sardonyx History

In the Middle Ages, sardonyx was believed to have magical powers. It was thought to bring courage and strength to the wearer, and was given to soldiers going off to war.

In ancient Greece, sardonyx was a popular gemstone for making cameos (carved gems with raised relief images). It was also used in signet rings, which were used to stamp seals on important documents.

Sardonyx Facts

The name sardonyx comes from the Greek word sard, meaning "red," and onyx, meaning "vein" or "stripe."

Sardonyx is found in a variety of locations around the world, including Brazil, India, Madagascar, and the United States.

Lower-quality sardonyx can be bought for as little as $20 per carat, while high-quality stones can cost up to $500 per carat.

Sardonyx is mined using the same methods that are used to mine other types of onyx. Miners remove any overlying rock to reach the sardonyx deposit, which is then carefully extracted using chisels and hammers.

More About Sardonyx

Peridot: Green August Birthstone

A member of the olivine mineral group, peridot is often referred to as “volcanic glass,” due to the fact it can form from magma that cooled deep within the Earth and is brought to the surface with the formation of volcanoes.

Peridot can also be found in metamorphic rocks, in meteorites, and on the ocean floor.

Peridot Ring: August Birthstone Peridot

Peridot Color

Peridot gets its green from the mineral olivine, rather than from impurities like many other gemstones, and because of this, peridot is among the few gemstones that only occurs in one color.

Of course, peridot can vary in shade, ranging from a yellowish-green to a brownish-green. Peridot is often mistaken for emeralds but in general can be distinguished by its typically lighter shades of green, while emeralds tend to feature deeper greens.

Peridot Significance

Peridot is said to bring good luck, peace, and success.

It is also believed to have a number of healing properties, including the ability to relieve stress and anxiety.

Peridot is also thought to provide protection and good fortune to the wearer.

Peridot History

Peridot has been used as a gemstone for thousands of years, and was popular among the Egyptians and Romans.

The first known use of peridots was by ancient Egyptians who called it “the gem of the sun.” They believed that Peridots were a gift from the sun god Ra.

Peridot was also used in ancient times to ward off evil spirits.

Peridot Facts

The most famous deposit of peridots is on the island of Zabargad, which is also known as St. John's Island.

In the United States, peridot is found primarily in Arizona, on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, which features a volcanic field.

The Big Island of Hawaii features a beach with sand that glistens green from the presence of olivine. The beach is known by many names: Mahana Beach, Papakolea Beach, Green Sand Beach or Peridot Beach.

Peridot has also been found among meteorites that have made it to the Earth’s surface.

The largest cut peridot is more than 50 carats and is displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

More About Peridot


Spinel: Newest August Birthstone

August’s newest addition, Spinel was officially added as a birthstone for the month in 2016, though the gemstone has a long and rather regal history.

Spinel occurs in a wide range of colors, meaning those with August birthdays have an overall wide range of favorite gems from which to choose. As if three gemstone options weren’t enough, each offers splendid variety, and none more so than spinel.

Spinel gemstones: August birthstone spinel

Spinel Color

Spinel is found in a variety of colors, including red, pink, blue, purple, violet, orange, bluish-green, and black.

The most popular color of spinel is red, which is often referred to as “balas ruby.”

Spinel Significance

The meaning of Spinel as a birthstone varies depending on culture and history.

Spinel is seen as a symbol of love and passion. In others, it is believed to have protective powers.

Spinel is also thought to bring good luck.

In some cultures, spinel is believed to have magical powers and is used as a talisman to ward off evil spirits.

Spinel History

Red variations of spinel have been mistaken for rubies throughout history. Britain’s Imperial State Crown is adorned with a 170-carat red spinel gem, known as the “Black Prince’s Ruby,” because for many centuries it was thought to be that July birthstone rather than spinel.

In the 14th century, spinel was used to adorn the British Crown Jewels.

Spinel Facts

Spinel is typically found in metamorphic rocks, such as marble and serpentinite.

Spinel is typically mined in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand.

Spinel has a high refractive index, meaning it sparkles and shines brightly.

Spinel is not considered rare, but it is not as common as other gemstones such as diamonds or rubies.

More About Spinel

Red Spinel

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