August is another month with multiple birthstones. So you get to choose your favourite – or all at once. This post will be about Peridot with two more to follow for Sardonyx and Spinel.

Peridot is the yellowish green gem variety of the mineral olivine. Throughout history Peridot has been confused with other gems such as topaz and emerald. The Shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral is decorated with 200 carats of gems that were believed to be emeralds but are, in fact, peridot. Some historians speculate that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection may indeed have also been peridot.
The word “peridot” comes from the Arabic faridat, meaning gem. This birthstone was valued in many ancient and medieval cultures. It appeared in priests’ jewellery as early as the second century BCE and later in the chalices and churches of medieval Europe.

Associated with the sun, Peridot has been prized since the earliest civilizations for its protective powers to drive away the forces of darkness. Set in gold and worn around the neck or bound to the left arm, it was used as a charm against sorcery and magic, evil spirits, night terrors, and madness. It cured cowardice, calmed anger, as well as brightening the wit. Peridot is still celebrated for those virtues, protecting the aura, purifying the physical and subtle bodies, and alleviating emotional burdens, guilt and obsessions. It is particularly beneficial for overcoming fear, depression and other psychological disturbances, as well as releasing jealousies, resentment and spite in order to move forward. Peridot promotes responsibility and forgiveness, instilling confidence in one’s own abilities and re-establishing a sense of self-worth. A powerful generator of the frequency of increase, this lovely talisman may be utilized to manifest abundance in all areas of one’s life: wealth, health, happiness and love.

Although most of the peridot seen in jewellery today comes from sources such as China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Tanzania, Vietnam and the United States, some journeyed to Earth on meteorites (some as old as 4.5 billion years!). Terrestrial Peridot, like diamond, formed deep in the earth’s mantle and emerged to the surface in volcanic lava or earthquake eruptions.
The Egyptian island of Zabargad (the name now given to Topazios) is the oldest recorded source of peridot. Mining may have begun around 340–279 BCE. The finest specimens of this birthstone for August can be found in prestigious museums around the world. Myanmar (formerly Burma) is another important source of the peridot birthstone producing gems of deep colour and superb transparency.

With a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale, Peridot is softer than many gems and cannot take hard wear, thus it is not recommended for daily use in a ring setting. It can also be damaged by some acids and even by long-term exposure to acidic perspiration. Cleaning peridot is a delicate process – best achieved by hand washing in mild soap suds and lukewarm water with a soft-bristle brush. Peridot should be stored with care to avoid scratching by gems with greater hardness.