August Birthstones: Peridot and Sardonyx

Well, another month, another birthstone… or in August’s case birthstones. August Leos are lucky enough to have two birthstones: Peridot and Sardonyx.

Sardonyx is the traditional August birthstone,  evidenced in part by it’s inclusion in the Tiffany & Co.  poem about birthstones published in 1870:

“Wear a sardonyx or for thee,
No conjugal felicity;
The August-born without this stone,
`Tis said, must live unloved and lone.”

When the National Jeweler’s Association came together in 1912 to compile an official list of birthstones, they decided to add Peridot to August, perhaps because it’s more expensive than the more common sardonyx, or maybe because it looks more expensive because of it’s translucent quality.

Regardless of the reasons, lets take a closer look at each stone!


Jewelry makers have used Peridot since the 2nd millennium BC where they first made their appearance in ancient Egyptian jewelry. While the most beautiful specimens come from Pakistan and Afghanistan, this radiant semi-precious gem can also be found in parts of China, Myanmar and the US. Peridots range from yellow-y green to brown, however the most popular ones are lime to olive green. A characteristic that influences it’s nickname, the “evening emerald”,  Peridots retain their bright green color even in artificial light. Make no mistake when identifying Peridot – it’s one of the few gemstones that only comes in one color.

Peridot is thought to bring the wearer abundance in joy (and money), power and protection.


Sardonyx is a banded variety of chalcendony. Its bands come in many colors, but are most commonly white. They are mostly found in India, but they have also been found in Czechoslovakia, Brazil, Uruguay, Germany, and in the United States. Sardonyx was commonly used to carve cameos, a profile or portrait, in ancient times.

A Roman Cameo via

Ancient peoples believed sardonyx to be a stone of strength and protection. In fact ancient Greeks and Romans used to carry sardonyx engraved with the likeness of Hercules of Mars into battle. Sardonyx is also believed to enhance stamina and will power.

Stay tuned for next month’s feature on Sapphires!

Sources: www.gemstone.org, 

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