Peridot - The Birthstone of August

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August is around the corner and the peridot has been the month's birthstone since 1912. Peridot is an intriguing gem because it's not found in jewelry as much as many of the other birthstones, like diamonds, amethysts, rubies and pearls, and in this regard, it's unique. Lets take a closer look at this gem.

Unlike many other colored gems, peridot comes only in one color - an olive-like green. The tint of the green will vary and can be gorgeous, depending upon the amount of iron in the peridot's crystalline structure. Sometimes the peridot is mistaken for May's birthstone - the emerald, but the peridot, being a stone slightly more fragile and more abundant than the emerald, is much less costly. This green gem is technically an olivine, which is of the silicate mineral variety. It's mined around the world - Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii in the US, as well as Brazil, Pakistan, Australia, China, Egypt and South Africa. Peridot crystals are found in igneous rocks, like lava and even, on rare occasion, in meteorites. The gem has been adorned in jewelry since early times dating back to ancient Egypt and is even mentioned in the Bible. Legend has it that Cleopatra wore peridot jewelry, which many mistook for emeralds.

Peridots can be cut in a variety of shapes, including teardrop, oval, square and hearts, among others, and they usually weigh in under 4 carats. Anything above 4 carats can be pretty pricey! In addition, peridots are commonly found on pendants, earrings and rings. They look fabulous as stand-alone gems or when paired with others, such as diamond and tanzanite. The largest of them can be found among collectors and in museums, like the 46 carat Pakistani-mined peridot displayed at the Smithsonian Museum..

The peridot has interesting folklore and mythic qualities. For example, the gem represents the Zodiac sign of Libra. In addition, it is believed to possess magic powers that include healing properties, along with the ability to protect and ensure a sound sleep. In Hawaii, where peridot is found, it is said to symbolize the tears of the goddess of fire and volcanoes - Goddess Pele.

If you have interest in peridot jewelry, check out our collection here. Or if you prefer other colored gems, we offer a nice selection at excellent prices as well.