We’ve made it to August and that means this month’s birthstone is the peridot. The color is reminiscent of the light-filled days of summer and the green of nature as plants continue to bloom at the end of the season. This light green gem has a rich history that spans around the world. Do you know much about your month’s birthstone? Did you know it’s also the wedding anniversary gemstone for celebrating 16 years of marriage? Read on to learn all about the peridot!
One of the world’s oldest gems
The peridot is thought to be one of the oldest gems in history. While exact dates are not certain, it is believed the peridot was first discovered around 1500 B.C., on Topazios Island, which is now known as St. John’s Island, located in the Red Sea, near Egypt.
The stones are veiled in mystery; a common myth claims that the stones were collected by islanders for Pharaoh's treasury. The islanders had to spend all day and night mining the stone and were able to successfully find the gem at night because of its beautiful color and shine. While we don’t know if this story is true or not, it certainly adds an air of mystery.
Egypt’s national gem
This myth plays into the stone’s current role as Egypt’s national gem. In Ancient Egypt, it was referred to as “the gem of the sun.” Simply looking at a peridot in the sun and seeing how it catches the light provides validity to this nickname. It was also believed that the gem could protect the wearer from evil, particularly when set in gold.
Many claim that Cleopatra’s famous “emeralds” may actually have been peridots, since people in medieval times often confused the two gems. For a while, the peridot had been labeled as a “topaz” because of the island it originates from, Topazios Island. Stories like these only add further mystery to the history of the peridot.
How it was formed
So, where does it come from? Peridot is formed deep inside the earth from gem-quality olivine and eventually transported to the surface by volcanoes. Some peridot also ends up on our planet from meteorites, though this form of the gem is incredibly rare. There are no man-made forms of peridot, but some imitations have been created, usually made out of glass. Unlike many other gems, peridot only comes in one color, green, but can come in various shades, though light green is the most common shade.
Other myths surrounding peridot
There are many other fascinating myths relating to the peridot; in Hawaii, the gem symbolizes the tears of the goddess of fire and volcanoes, Hele. It’s also believed that peridot can lead to healthier and more successful relationships, particularly in marriages. Its position as an aid to relationships may originate from the idea that it encourages positive energy and minimizes jealousy and selfishness.
Here at Vanscoy, Maurer & Bash in Lancaster, PA, we have a variety of peridot jewelry in stock. Our dedicated associates are looking forward to helping you find a great piece of jewelry to celebrate August. Stop by while we’re open or call us at 717-299-4283 to make an appointment.