For those born in August, under Leo or Virgo, your birthstone is the gloriously colourful Peridot.
Shimmering and pale green, this stone is often called the evening emerald, and its origin is from the French word peritôt, meaning unclear, because of the numerous inclusions and internal fractures often found within peridot gemstone beads. More times than not these will give the stone a lovely inner sparkle.
Sometimes also referred to as olivine, it is only found in one color – green – and it varies from olive to brownish green. This green was highly prized by ancient admirers because it was often thought to be emerald, which is one of the greatest compliments peridot could ever receive. It is the national gem of Egypt, and the ancient Egyptians knew it as the gem of the sun. In fact, jewellery historians are now convinced that some, if not all, of the emeralds that Cleopatra was famous for wearing were not actually emeralds but deep green peridot stones from mines in Egypt.
In the middle ages, European emissaries brought back large quantities of peridot stones from their travels to foreign lands and decorated their churches and robes with them. One of these large peridot gems adorns the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in the cathedral at Cologne, and for centuries was believed to be an emerald but has recently been identified as peridot.
Peridot is not only terrestrial. Although many different gems can be found in meteorites that have fallen to Earth, the galaxy-travelling peridot is the only gem that is found in sizes large enough to be made into jewellery. In 1749, one such meteorite was found on a desolate hilltop in Siberia, and it was discovered that this fallen star contained many pieces of beautiful, heaven-sent peridot crystals big enough to be used in jewellery.
In scientific communities, it is also believed that peridot crystals played a large role in the creation of the moon, and that now they comprise a large portion of the moon’s mantle. What an incredible gemstone!
Peridot is not only the perfect birthday gift, it is also traditionally given on a 16th Wedding Anniversary.
Known as the stone of compassion, it is believed to bring good health, restful sleep and peace to relationships by balancing emotions and mind. This friendly bright green stone also has the uncanny ability to inspire eloquence and creativity; it also brings delight and good cheer. It attracts love and calms anger by giving renewal to all things. The epic metaphysical powers that peridot possesses have been written about much throughout the ages.
Legend says that if the gem is set in gold, the stone will develop its full potential as a talisman and will have the power to eradicate terrors of the night such as fearsome visions and nightmares. However, according to the great Roman philosopher, Pliny the Elder, peridot must be worn on the right arm to work its most potent dispelling. The stone’s ability to glow like a hot coal under lamplight at night helps chase away foreboding night visions. Peridot has been long considered a powerful aid to repairing and maintaining friendship and, supposedly, it frees the mind of envious thoughts that can damage and strain relationships. It has also been used to protect believers from the evil eye.