10 Cool Facts About August’s Birthstone, Peridot!

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August BirthstonePeridot is the gem quality variety of the mineral olivine, which has been used for years in the aluminum foundry industry for aluminum casting as a preferred alternative to regular silica sands, as well as in the steel industry for tapping blast furnaces.  Olivine is considered the ideal rock for saunas due to its robustness with repeated heating and cooling as well as its high density.

When olivine occurs as those beautiful clear olive-green crystals we love, it is called peridot and is destined to a fate much more pleasant than a blast furnace…as a gem for you to wear and treasure.

While olivine itself is one of the most common minerals on earth, the peridot variety is quite rare.  It’s also not a gem we hear about as much as emeralds, diamonds or rubies (oh my), so we’re going to encourage you to love peridots (or love them more) with these 10 cool facts you may not know about them:

  1. Peridot is a gem full of positive energy.  Legend has it that peridot elicits positive energy and suppresses selfishness, jealousy and ego.  Because of this, it is believed that it aids in the success of personal relationships including marriage.
  2. Peridot is one of only a very few gemstones that only come in one color.  Peridot is always olive green.
  3. Peridot can be found in meteorites.  Some of the meteorites (called pallasites) consist of a metal matrix with some beautiful clear peridot crystals embedded.  When cut into slices they are very unique and beautifully striking.
  4. According to legend, peridot can ward off evil spirits.
  5. Peridot is also referred to as chrysolite.
  6. Peridot is a French word derived from the Arabic word “faridat,” which translates to “gem.”
  7. Peridot has a hardness of 6.5 – 7 on the Mohs Scale, which makes it slightly softer than quartz and makes the preferred setting a bezel setting for protection.  Peridot is best suited for jewelry that won’t get hit or bumped or otherwise see rough wear.
  8. August actually has TWO birthstones.  The National Association of Jewelers reports that peridot has been the official birthstone of August since 1912…along with sardonyx.
  9. The huge 200+ carat peridots that adorn the Shrine of Three Kings at the Cologne Cathedral were long believed to be emeralds.  Peridots have been mistaken for emeralds throughout history
  10. And speaking of peridots and emeralds…Peridot was called Evening Emerald by the ancient Romans because while deep green emeralds darkened to where they almost looked black at night in candlelight, peridots still shimmered under candlelight and their color didn’t darken.

What is your birthstone?