Peridot – The Birthstone for August
The peridot birthstone is known for being formed under extreme conditions, as it can be found in the hardened lava that carried it from deep within Earth’s mantle as well as in meteorites that traveled from outer space.
Peridot is the yellowish green to greenish yellow gem variety of the mineral olivine. Throughout history, peridot has often been confused with other gems such as topaz and emerald. The Red Sea island of Topazios, a purported source of the name “topaz,” actually produced peridot. The Shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral is decorated with 200 carats of gems that were believed to be emeralds but are, in fact, the August birthstone peridot. Some historians even speculate that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection may have been comprised of peridot.
The word “peridot” comes from the Arabic faridat, meaning gem. This August birthstone was valued in many ancient and medieval cultures. It appeared in priests’ jewelry as early as the second century BCE and later in the chalices and churches of medieval Europe. The peridot birthstone has also been used for centuries as a protective talisman, shielding the owner from evil spirits and “terrors of the night.”
With a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, peridot is softer than many gems and cannot take hard wear, so it is not recommended for daily use in a ring. This August birthstone can also be damaged by some acids and even by long-term exposure to acidic perspiration. Cleaning peridot is a delicate process. Never use a steam or ultrasonic cleaner, as your peridot birthstone is vulnerable to thermal shock. It is safest to use a soft-bristle brush with a mild dish soap in warm water. Peridot should be stored with care to avoid scratching by gems with greater hardness.
Peridot is the gem given to celebrate a 15th wedding anniversary and it’s the perfect gift for those born in the month of August.
For more information, please call Ro Ma Jewelers at 661-254-6414.
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