Peridot is August's Birthstone
By Sam Serio
If you're still young enough to remember your birthday,
you probably also remember the special birthstone assigned to it. But at your age, we bet
you don't really know the SIGNIFICANCE of your birthstone and what power the ancients felt
would be bestowed about you by wearing it.
August's Birthstone: Peridot
Birthstone Properties: Illumination
Alternative Birthstone: Sardonyx
Peridot is the birthstone for August and 16th anniversary
gemstone. Its name comes from the Arabic word "faridat," meaning gem. Peridot is
sometimes referred to as an Evening Emerald because under artificial light it
glows as a brilliant green.
Peridot is transparent with subtle color in a variety of
greens, ranging from light yellowish green to a dark olive. The purer green a peridot is,
the higher the value. Any tinge of brown greatly diminishes the value of a peridot, as
well as visible flaws.
Ancient History Found in both early Greek and early Roman
jewelry, peridot has been popular since 1500 BC when the Egyptians started mining it. The
Egyptians called the lustrous stone the "gem of the sun" and believed it had the
power to ward off anxiety, enhance speech, and foster success in relationships and
Peridot crystals are sometimes combed from the black sands
of Hawaii where the gemstone is abundant and available in larger sizes. Hawaiians believe
that peridot is the tears shed by Pele, the volcano goddess. Pele must have traveled
extensively, however, because peridot is also mined in Burma, Norway, Brazil, Australia,
Hawaii, the Congo, and in Arizona.
Peridot is found in Europe in many medieval churches
decorating several treasures, including the Cologne Cathedral. Peridot use peaked during
the Baroque era, but the gemstone fell out of favor over time until the 1990's when a new
source in Pakistan re-ignited interest in the forgotten stone.
Take Two and Call Me in the Morning
Legend has it that drinking from a peridot goblet can
increase the potency of medicines. Egyptian priests drank from cups made of peridot,
believing it would draw them closer to Isis, their goddess of nature. Peridot was said to
be useful for calming raging angers, curing nervous afflictions and promoting tranquility
in high-strung individuals.
Many legends state that peridot was considered a powerful
amulet against all evil, as well as a remedy for sinus problems. Powdered peridot has been
used to cure asthma, while a peridot stone placed under the tongue of someone with fever
is believed to lessen his/her thirst.
Making Dreams Come True
Peridot was thought to help dreams become a reality, and
was often given as a symbol of fame, strength and vitality
as well as promise of new
growth in the years ahead. It also symbolizes eloquence and persuasiveness.
Peridots were especially favored by pirates. The terrors
of the sea considered peridot powerful amulets against all evil, and when set in gold,
were said to protect the wearer from the terrors of the night