Lime Green Peridot :: Modern Birthstone for August :: Part II
If ever there were a birthstone intended to create attention,
it would have to be the startling Peridot,
that lusciously lime green gem which is the modern birthstone for August.
Love it or loathe it, it is a colour not to be treated gently,
and I, for one, quite absolutely adore this lively tone.
But let's have a look to learn a little more about Peridot's history...
The iridescent green Peridot is a semi-precious gem,
which has been used at least since the Ancient Egyptian times.
It's part of the olivine family of minerals,
composed of magnesium, iron and silicate.
Olivine is found in abundant quantities,
but it is only classified as Peridot when it is of translucent gem-like quality:
or in other words, when it has a very high clarity.
The name "Olivine", not surprisingly, means "olive green",
and it is a rare mineral in that it only ever occurs in the one colour,
although it may be in various tones of green,
from yellow-green lime, through dark olive to a reddish/brownish green.
Differing amounts of iron are thought to be the reason for these variations.
The most valuable Peridots are a dark olive green,
but the paler, more yellow lime green ones
are very popular in jewellery for their brightness.
Mined pretty much all over the world,
including Egypt, Norway, China, Brazil, USA, Kenya, Australia,
Pakistan & South Africa,
the Peridot can also be found in some meterorites.
(Now that's an illustrious claim to fame!)
The vast majority of Peridots now come from Arizona.
Treasured by the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks & Romans,
the Peridot was believed to symbolise the sun.
Its luminous glow meant that it was often mined at night in ancient times,
as it was considered easier to identify in dim light.
The gem has often been confused with emeralds throughout history.
Indeed, during the Holy Crusades of the Middle Ages,
Peridots were brought back to Europe
from the Holy Lands,
mistaken as emeralds,
and used in churches as ornaments.
With a long history of association with holding magical powers,
the Peridot was thought to ward off evil spirits,
protect against nightmares,
heal all ills,
and provide the wearer with power, wealth & influence.
No wonder it was so popular to wear into battle in Ancient times!
Around the end of the 19th century,
Peridots either replaced, or sometimes joined with,
as the birthstone for August.
The lime green gem was often worked into intricate pieces,
like this Victorian spider ring,
reworked by London based recycling jeweller Florence B.
Apart from their use in jewellery,
the happy little Peridot provides lively inspiration for incorporating
bright green into other areas of design...
The luminous quality of Peridot green means that it is enhanced
by dim light.
So it is especially magical when used outdoors at twilight.
And it glows like no other stone when worn as evening jewellery.
I particularly love it mixed with blue stones,
like these aquamarines,
but then I adore the combination of blue and green.
So if you are August born,
you can either choose the luminously bright lime green Peridot,
or the darker, richer red
as your birthstone.
Lucky, aren't you?
// fern : blue fruit //
// kermit : source unknown //
// fern : blue fruit //