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August Birthstone - Peridot

Peridot is the August birthstone. Peridot can range from yellowish-green to deep olive to brownish green, and it is one of the only gemstone to be found in only one color. The most valuable shade of peridot is a rich, lime green. The gem is said to bring happiness, attract love and foster friendship.

peridot necklaces and rings
Peridot necklaces and rings.

The word peridot comes from the Greek word, “faridat”, meaning “gem”. Peridot today is mined Australia, Brazil, Burma (Myanmar), China, Congo, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, USA (Arizona, Hawaii and New Mexico) and Vietnam, and it is sometimes found in meteorites.

A Judeo-Christian History of Peridot

Peridot has significant meaning amongst Judeo-Christian belief as well. The stone decorated church treasures for centuries, especially after the crusades, and it was also one of the 12 stones on Aaron’s breastplate and mentioned in the book of Revelations.

Large peridot, totaling more than 200 carats in weight, adorn the Shrine of the Three Magi at the Cologne Cathedral. Today, many Catholic Bishops still wear a peridot ring as a sign of purity and morality.

An Egyptian History of Peridot

The love affair with Egypt and peridot dates all the way back to 1500 BC, when the people referred to the gemstone as “the gem of the sun”. Ancient Egyptians discovered huge resources of peridot at Topazo Island (St John’s Island) in the Red Sea and mined the stones so that the pharaoh and other nobles could ward off evil with amulets. These stones were also commonly found in tombs and were perceived to offer the deceased some benefit in the afterlife.

Peridot was also commonly ground into a powder and ingested by Egyptian priests during ceremonies, particularly when honoring the goddess Isis. It was believed that this drink would bring the priest closer to nature.

Many historians and archaeologists believe that Empress Cleopatra’s vast emerald collection included a substantial amount of deep green peridots (some even accuse all of the stones of being peridots). Today, peridot is still the official National Gem of Egypt.

peridot ring and pendant
Peridot ring and pendant.

A Roman History of Peridot

Roman citizens wore peridot to attract lovers, strengthen the eyes and provide them with protection from enchantment, melancholy and illusion. It was perceived to aid in friendship, free the mind of envious thoughts and protect the wearer from the evil eye.

In order to expel evils of the night, it was most popular for the gemstone to be set in yellow gold (the metal of the sun) and pierced, with the hair of a donkey strung through it. He says the stone is dull by daylight, but glows like a hot coal by night. The quality of glowing at night led to peridot being known as the “evening emerald”. According to Roman historian Pliny, the stone works its best magic when worn on the right arm.

Peridot: Tears of the Hawaiian Goddess Pele

The Ancient Hawaiian people viewed the goddess Pele as being a destructive goddess, but capable of creation as well (much like the creation of their own island chain). Peridot is said to be the hardened tears of Pele, which is one of the many gifts the goddess presented to the people of Hawaii.

peridot ring and pendant
Victorian peridot drop earrings.

More Mystical and Healing Properties of Peridot

Peridot was one of the most important stones to spiritual leaders of ancient times. It was believed that a peridot with a carving on it would assist a person with a skill or prophesy. Dreaming about the stone was said to be a sign of impending danger, and it is said that in order to protect the wearer from evil spirits.

For darker magicians, engraving a totem or vulture on the gemstone allowed for the stone to have control over the winds and various demonic spirits.

Peridot has been used to treat conditions relating to the eyes, stomach, liver, gall bladder and asthma. It is believed that only the sound of mind is capable of embracing the power of the stone, and it is worn best set in a necklace at the base of the wearer’s throat. Placing it under the tongue was once seen as a viable solution to reduce fever. It is most commonly worn to calm nerves, dispel negative emotions and promote articulation.

Fun Facts About Peridot

  • Other than diamond, peridot is the only gemstone to form in the earth’s mantle and not the crust
  • Peridot is rarely treated, and due to its affordability, there is no synthetic form
  • Peridot is a very soft stone and should only be cleaned with warm water
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