August Birthstone

Birthstone of the month

If your birthday falls in August, consider yourself extraordinarily special because you have not one, not two, but three beautiful gemstones to call your own: sardonyx, peridot, and spinel.

Each of August’s birthstones boasts its own unique story and appearance. There’s sardonyx, the original August birthstone, with its roots deep in history; the vibrant peridot, often hailed as the “gem of the sun,” and the lesser-known spinel, frequently mistaken for the regal ruby. No matter which of the three catches your eye, there’s no denying that August is a month rich with color, history, and symbolism.

In this in-depth guide to the birthstones of August, we will take a closer look at the physical properties and historical significance of each, as well as the essential tips to keep your gems sparkling

How Many Birthstones Does August Have?

August is a unique month that boasts not just one but three birthstones. Each of these gemstones—sardonyx, peridot, and spinel—carries its own charm, offering a palette of colors from deep reds and blacks to vivid greens and soothing shades of pink and red.

Why Does August Have Multiple Birthstones?

The selection of multiple birthstones for August is an interesting story rooted in history, culture, and gemology. Traditionally, sardonyx was recognized as the sole birthstone for August. With its layers of sard and onyx, two types of the mineral chalcedony, sardonyx was treasured for its unique banding and symbolism.

However, there was a shift as gemology advanced, and a greater variety of gems became readily available and identifiable. The National Association of Jewelers, known today as Jewelers of America, officially updated the list of birthstones in 1912, introducing peridot as an additional birthstone for August.

Decades later, in 2016, the Jewelers of America and the American Gem Trade Association decided to add a third gemstone, spinel, to the August lineup. This addition aimed to broaden the options for August babies and enhance the understanding and appreciation of spinel, a gem often overshadowed by its more famous lookalike, the ruby.

This triad of birthstones presents an opportunity to celebrate the individuality of those born in August. With three gems to choose from, you have the freedom to select a birthstone that resonates with your personality and aesthetics.

Peridot Birthstone

Sketch of gemstone Peridot, the second birthstone for August, has been admired for its dazzling green color for thousands of years. Its vibrant hue is unique in the gem world, with shades that range from lime to olive greens. This eye-catching gemstone is treasured for its color and sparkle, making it a sought-after choice for those seeking something unique.

Unlike many gemstones, peridot birthstone is found in only one color (green). However, the intensity of this green depends on the quantity of iron present in the stone. Higher concentrations yield a richer green, while lower concentrations produce a lighter shade. Peridot’s singular color is due to the fact that it’s an idiochromatic gem, meaning its color comes from the basic chemical composition of the stone itself, not from minor impurities, as is the case with many gems.

Green peridot is found in various locations around the world, including China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Tanzania, Vietnam, and the United States. Some of the finest specimens, cherished for their deep, intense green, come from Pakistan.

The Four Cs of Peridot

The finest peridots display a vibrant green hue with just a hint of gold. These stones are often referred to as “evening emeralds” due to their sparkling green luster under artificial light.

Peridot is typically a clear gem with few visible inclusions. Eye-clean specimens, which have no inclusions visible to the unaided eye, are the most valued.

Faceted peridot is cut in a variety of shapes and styles, including oval, cushion, and emerald cuts, as well as cabochons. The cut can greatly affect the color and brilliance of the stone.

While small genuine peridots are relatively common, the gemstone becomes rarer in larger sizes. A high-quality peridot of more than five carats is a valuable find.

Peridot Birthstone Care and Cleaning

Before you invest in a piece of heirloom birthstone jewelry, it’s important to be aware that peridot needs careful handling. It rates 6.5 to seven on the Mohs hardness scale, making it softer than many other jewelry gemstones. Here are a few basic tips for caring for peridot jewelry:

Clean your peridot with a soft, dry cloth. If more thorough cleaning is needed, use warm, soapy water. Rinse and dry your jewelry carefully after cleaning.

Steer clear of harsh chemicals and sudden temperature changes. Always remove your peridot jewelry before swimming or performing chores.

Always hold your peridot jewelry by the metal, not the gemstone. This prevents natural skin oils from dulling the stone’s surface.

Consider professional cleaning at least once a year. A professional jeweler can also inspect the setting of your peridot to ensure it’s secure.

Spinel Birthstone

The third birthstone for August is spinel, a gemstone with vibrant color and history. If you appreciate aqua spinel, we have a stunning collection. Its hues range from striking deep reds and pinks to soothing blues, purples and even vibrant oranges and yellows. This broad color palette has given rise to a bevy of beautiful spinel stone varieties, making it a versatile gem for all styles and occasions.

Due to its often ruby-like red color, spinel has frequently been mistaken for the more famous gemstone. In fact, some of the most famous “rubies” in crown jewels around the world are actually spinel. It was only in recent centuries, with the advent of gemological science, that spinel was recognized as a distinct gemstone.

Spinel is found in a range of countries, including Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Tanzania. Each source can produce a variety of colors, but the intense, deep-red spinel gemstones from Myanmar are some of the most prized in the gem world.

Spinel Birthstone Care and Cleaning

Spinel is a durable gemstone and relatively simple to care for, making it an ideal option for everyday wear. With a Mohs scale of hardness of eight, it is resistant to scratching and suitable for all types of jewelry. Here are a few handy tips for caring for spinel jewelry:

To keep your spinel gemstone looking its best, clean it regularly using a soft cloth. Use warm water, mild soap, and a soft toothbrush for a deeper clean. Be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry well.

Although spinel is durable, avoiding contact with harsh chemicals is best. Remove your spinel jewelry before doing household chores or swimming in a chlorinated pool.

Try to protect your spinel jewelry from hard knocks or impacts that could cause chipping or fractures.

It’s advisable to have your spinel jewelry professionally cleaned once a year. This also allows the jeweler to check the prongs and clasps to ensure the gemstone is secure.

August Birthstones: History and Myths

Sketch of gemstone When it comes to the topic of birthstones, the symbolism and history of gemstones is a favorite subject for many people. And like most birthstones, August’s gems can be linked to a treasure trove of stories and beliefs, many of which span different cultures, regions, and generations.

Peridot Birthstone History, Myths and Symbolism

Peridot’s unique lime-green sparkle has helped it charm an impressive number of civilizations throughout history. In ancient times, Egyptians held peridot in high regard, calling it the “gem of the sun," and believed it protected against nightmares and evil, ensuring peace and happiness. Cleopatra was famously fond of peridot, mistaking it for emeralds.

In Hawaiian folklore, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes. Christians have also long associated peridot with humility, purity, and morality.

Today, the symbolism of peridot is lightness, beauty, and renewal. It is said to bring about healing and vitality, helping the wearer to tune in with their inner self and the universe.

Spinel Birthstone History, Myths, and Symbolism

Spinel, despite often being mistaken for ruby, has a rich history and mythology all its own. It has adorned the crowns and jewelry of emperors and kings throughout history. The most famous is the “Black Prince’s Ruby," a large red spinel that is a part of the British Crown Jewels.

In traditional Indian astrology, spinel was regarded as the daughter of ruby and was believed to bring high energy and vitality to its wearer. It was also associated with love and hope.

In modern gemology, spinel symbolizes revitalization and is said to refresh and rejuvenate the wearer. It’s often seen as a stone of hope, helping its wearer to overcome feelings of stress and improve self-esteem.

Find Sardonyx, Peridot, and Spinel August Gemstones at James Avery Artisan Jewelry

The trio of August birthstones—sardonyx, peridot, and spinel—can bring a unique splash of color, fascinating history, and spiritual symbolism to your jewelry box. Choosing a piece of jewelry can be a wonderful way to express individuality, commemorate treasured moments, and keep our loved ones and our cherished memories close. And when it comes to selecting a piece embedded with your birthstone, the connection becomes even more special.

At James Avery Artisan Jewelry, our carefully curated collection of August birthstone jewelry showcases the beauty of sardonyx, peridot, and spinel in a variety of styles. Whether you’re searching for a dainty charm to add to your bracelet, a bold ring to make a statement, or a beautiful pendant to adorn your neck, our expert artisans craft each piece with love and attention to detail.

Browse our full collection of birthstone jewelry today to find your new favorite design featuring an August birthstone.

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