August's Birthstones: The Dual Delights of Peridot & Spinel
Las piedras natales de agosto: peridoto, espinela y sardónix
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The two traditional August birthstones are the stunning peridot and spinel. Peridot is a yellow-green gemstone while spinel comes in various colors, often mistaken for other gems.

The month was named August in 8 BC after Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar, chosen by him to commemorate his past triumphs during August. Previously, it was named Sextilis, meaning “sixth,” when March began the year.

Many ancient festivals held during August involved harvests, safety, and prayers for the changing season to be peaceful.

August is associated with abundance, protection, and regeneration. Many of these traits are seen in August birthstones, too!

Today, we’ll dive into the history, meanings, powers, and value factors of the August birthstones peridot and spinel. We’ll also touch on some alternative birthstones and gift ideas!

august birthstones spinel and peridotPictured above: Orange spinel ring

Historical & Cultural Significance of August Birthstones

Technically, August has three birthstones: peridot, spinel, and sardonyx.

Why are there 3 birthstones for August? For one, not all lists have three August birthstones. Secondly, birthstones have changed over time.

So, when did the August birthstone change?

Way back in the 1st and 5th centuries AD, early birthstone lists were inspired from Biblical lists of 12 gemstones. In these lists, the August birthstone was either carnelian or sardonyx.

Tiffany & Co released a pamphlet of birthstone poems in 1870 with sardonyx for August.

The first standardized list was created by the National Association of Jewellers (now Jewellers of America) in 1912. This list had sardonyx as the primary August birthstone, with peridot as an alternative.

In 1937, the National Association of Goldsmiths released a list with reversed priority — peridot primary, sardonyx alternative.

Later, the 1912 list was altered when the American Gem Trade Association collaborated with Jewellers of America. One of the changes was adding spinel for August in 2016.

That’s why we’ll focus on peridot and spinel in today’s guide.

With the birthstone history covered, we’ll dive into these gem’s individual history next.

ancient peridot intaglio of cleopatra from hellenistic eraPictured above: Peridot intaglio portrait of Cleopatra II, between circa 175 and circa 115 BC (Hellenistic-Ptolemaic) | Image credit: Walters Art Museum, Public domain

Peridot’s Rich History in Ancient Cultures

Peridot’s history begins in ancient Egypt.

The earliest records of peridot mining go back to 1500 BC, when ancient Egyptians found the August birthstone on Topazios (now called St. John’s Island or Zabargad).

Cleopatra believed peridot was protective against evil forces, and Egyptian priests drank from peridot-encrusted goblets to communicate with gods of nature.

Ancient Hawaiian legends connect peridot to Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes. Some myths say peridots are Pele’s tears. Others claim the birthstones are healing gifts from Pele.

Historically, peridot has been mixed up with many stones.

The early name “chrysolite” may be partly to blame. “Chrysolite” and “topaz” were used for chrysoberyl, peridot, and prehnite stones from Topazios.

Another centuries-long confusion was between peridot vs emerald.

In fact, ancient Romans called peridot “Evening Emerald.” Some historians believe Cleopatra’s emerald collection was actually peridots.

Other famous examples of peridots mistaken for emeralds include:

  • The 200-carat gems on the Three Holy Kings shrine in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral

  • French Empress Joséphine Bonaparte’s necklace gifted by her Emperor husband, Napoleon — Napoleon happened to be born in August!

Yet no gem takes the title of “imposter” more than spinel.

timur ruby spinel in 1800s paintingPictured above: Detail of the Timur ruby from a painting of Maharaja Sher Singh, by August Schoefft, ca.1841–42 | Image credit: August Schoefft, Public domain

Spinel’s Intriguing Historical Connections & Confusions

Much of spinel’s history involves being mistaken for precious gemstones, particularly sapphire and ruby.

Historically, “ruby” was often used for all red gemstones. When imported rubies were introduced to Europe in the Middle Ages, spinels from Afghanistan were labeled “balas rubies.”

Until the 1800s, European royals were vying for “Balas rubies,” even though some medieval scholars categorized them as distinct from true rubies.

Notable examples of spinels mistaken for rubies are the Black Prince’s Ruby and Timur Ruby.

The Black Prince’s Ruby was first owned by 14th-century Granada prince Abu Said Faraj. Eventually, the “Black Prince” Edward of Woodstock got it. It eventually became the centerstone of the Imperial State Crown used at Queen Victoria’s 1838 coronation.

The Timur Ruby (pictured above) was named after Timurid ruler Timur, mistakenly believed to have taken it while invading Delhi in 1398. Ownership passed among various Mughal and Sikh rulers until the East India Company took it in 1849.

They gifted it to Queen Victoria in 1851. She had it set in a Garrards necklace in 1853.

Luckily, spinels have slowly gained recognition as beautiful gemstones and versatile August birthstones.

green peridot rough crystal with needle inclusionsPictured above: Peridot rough with needle-like inclusions

Geological Marvel: The Origins of Peridot and Spinel

Starting with peridot, this August birthstone is a magnesium iron silicate and the gemstone form of olivine (sometimes called chrysotile).

Peridot is often found in peridotites. More notably, however, some peridot crystals are extraterrestrial, found in ancient stony-iron meteorites called pallasites and comet dust.

Today, most peridot crystals come from Arizona (USA), Myanmar, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Myanmar and Egypt produce the largest facetable peridots.

Moving on to spinel, this August birthstone is a magnesium aluminum oxide in the spinel subgroup of isometric aluminum oxides. Other stones in this group include magnetite and gahnite, but spinel is the only group member commonly used in jewelry.

Although spinels form in host rocks, miners usually find them in alluvial deposits, where water has eroded the rock and brought the gems downstream, often rounding the crystals along the way.

Spinel birthstones are found worldwide, but the main sources for gem-quality specimens are Afghanistan, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.

bright green peridot gemstone faceted ovalPictured above: Faceted peridot gemstone

Shades of Green and Beyond: Peridot's Radiance

Peridot is one of few gemstones defined by its green coloring, but this August birthstone’s colors actually range from pure green to yellow-green to brownish-green.

Why is the August birthstone green? Peridot is idiochromatic, so its green coloring comes from the ferrous iron (Fe2+) present in its mineral formula.

Ferric iron (Fe3+) can lend yellow undertones, while chromium can brighten the green hues. The ideal iron content is 12 to 15 percent — anything higher leads to browner, less valuable colors.

Many peridot gems are identified by their origin:

  • Changbai, China: Bright lime green

  • Hunan, China: More yellow-green

  • Myanmar: Bright medium to dark green & oily

  • Sondmore, Norway: Paler lime-green

  • Kashmir, Pakistan: Apple- or lime-green, gold undertones

  • Zabargad, Egypt: Rich medium-green

As far as optical effects, peridots very rarely exhibit chatoyancy (the “cat’s eye” effect) or asterism (the “star” effect). Additionally, this August birthstone’s high birefringence can result in facet-doubling and fuzziness.

violet blue spinel gemstone facetedPictured above: Faceted violet spinel

The Many Colors of Spinel

The spinel August birthstone colors are vast, including almost every color in the rainbow and shades in between. Most spinel gemstones are red, pink, orange, lilac, and blue.

The impurities behind this birthstone’s colors are:

  • Chromium, ferric iron, and/or vanadium – red, magenta, purple

  • Cobalt and/or ferrous iron – blue, bluish-purple, purple

  • Vanadium – orange, orange-red

  • Ferrous & ferric iron charge transfer – green

  • Magnesium aluminum oxide – black

Certain impurities and colors have led to different varieties and trade names — read more about these in our Spinel Info Guide.

Some Myanmar spinels display asterism. More rarely, spinels can be color-changing, from grayish-blue or violet in sunlight to purple or reddish-violet under incandescence.

faceted red spinel birthstone ringPictured above: Red spinel ring

Evaluating Quality: Peridot and Spinel Characteristics

The quality of peridot and spinel birthstones is graded on color, clarity, cut, and carat weight, along with any treatments done.


Peridot: Pure, vibrant grass-green peridots are usually most valuable, followed by moderately saturated yellow-green coloring. Yellow undertones are most common. Brown undertones lower value.

Spinel: In order, the rarest and most valuable spinels are red, cobalt-blue, bright pink, and bright orange.

More affordable (but still beautiful) options are shades of purple like lavender, bluish-purple, and violet. Higher saturation is rarer and more valuable.


Clarity describes the degree of visible inclusions, which lowers a stone’s transparency and value. Both peridot and spinel have Type II clarity, meaning high-quality specimens are usually eye-clean (no visible inclusions without magnification).

Peridot: Under magnification, many peridot gems have “lily pad” inclusions, making the stone harder to cut. Fewer inclusions are ideal.

Spinel: Many spinels have intriguing, distinctive rows of octahedral crystal inclusions. Aligned rutile needles cause the valuable “star” effect.

purple star spinel cabochonPictured above: Purple star spinel cabochon


Most peridot and spinel August birthstones are faceted. Star or cat’s eye specimens must be cut as cabochons.

Peridot: Gem cutters must consider peridot’s birefringence, clarity, and color when choosing faceted cuts. Checkerboard cuts can mask inclusions, but round, pear, and oval brilliant shapes are most popular.

Spinel: The most common faceted spinel cuts are oval, round, and cushion shapes, which maximize spinel’s brilliance. High-quality spinel material may be cut into non-calibrated sizes.

Carat Weight

Peridot: Gem-quality peridot rough is rarely over 3 carats, with most gems under 1 carat. The price-per-carat for gems over 3 carats is significantly higher.

Spinel: Most spinels today are under 5 carats. Gems over 5 carats have significantly higher price-per-carat rates, especially blue, red, and pink spinels.


Peridot: Treatments are rare for peridot, though some are metal-foiled to enhance color and durability.

Spinel: Most natural spinels are untreated. Rarely, some are heated and fracture-filled for better clarity. Various diffusion treatments may be done to create artificial colors like cobalt-blue.

colored spinels carved into leaves around faceted sapphiresPictured above: Carved spinels around faceted sapphires

Cultural Significance and Beliefs

Peridot and spinel aren’t only beautiful — these August birthstones are also significant metaphysically.


Historically, peridot was often connected to light and protection.

Ancient Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun,” and wore it as protection from “terrors of the night.” Some ancients thought peridot came from a solar explosion.

The 16th-century writer Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa claimed holding peridot to the sun would make it reflect a golden star that healed breathing problems.

Some believe peridot dispelled nightmares, madness, and memory loss. Others claim its “inner radiance” brought mental clarity and spiritual awareness.

Today, the peridot August birthstone symbolizes renewal, protection, and harmony.


For spinel, this August birthstone’s meaning is tied to love and rejuvenation.

As healing stones, spinels are believed to promote passion, devotion, and happiness, along with decreasing anxiety and balancing emotions.

Metaphysical nicknames for spinel include:

  • Stone of Hope

  • Stone of Joy

  • Stone of Revitalization

  • Stone of Immortality

Spiritually, some use spinel for boosting intuition and communication with celestial realms. People in Myanmar say spinel crystals are nat thwe, meaning “polished by the spirits.”

The August birthstone is also used for opening the root chakra and re-energizing the wearer.

Ethical Sourcing and Sustainability

Rising awareness around conflict diamonds may lead conscious consumers to wonder about the ethics and sustainability of peridot and spinel mining.

Partial responsibility is on jewelers, who can choose to buy from smaller, independently owned and vetted mines who are transparent about their supply chain. The other responsibility is on buyers, who can choose to only buy August birthstones from vetted, transparent jewelers.

Luckily, roughly 80 to 95 percent of peridot gem material is exclusively mined by Apache tribe members on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona, USA, an independent operation open to visitors.

Many jewelers opt for spinels from Tanzania and Sri Lanka, where mining practices are transparent and not associated with human rights violations.

Many buyers have turned to synthetic versions of August birthstones, which have the same chemical and physical properties as natural material but are lab-created.

In fact, synthetic spinels are among the most common lab-created gems. Synthetic peridot is less common.

striped sardonyx cabochon alternative august birthstonePictured above: Sardonyx cabochon

Alternative August Birthstones

As mentioned earlier, many lists include a third August birthstone, being sardonyx, a chalcedony variety comprised of sard and onyx layers, or carnelian, a similar chalcedony variety.

Spinel itself is often a simulant of other gems, but peridot has many affordable simulants, like:

Astrologically, what is the birthstone for Virgo in August? Among the traditional birthstones, earth-sign Virgos may prefer a grassy-green peridot.

What is the birthstone for Leo? August-born Leos might prefer the passion of spinel, especially fiery red spinel.

faceted green peridot birthstone earrings with diamondsPictured above: Faceted peridot earrings

Personalized August Birthstone Gifts

An August birthstone gift is a thoughtful celebration of your loved one’s life. Once you choose the gem, it’s time to pick the best August birthstone jewelry or accessory for it.

Here are some ideas:

  • Stackable August birthstone ring

  • Birthstone necklace with monogram pendant of their initial

  • Tungsten ring with embedded birthstone

  • Stud birthstone earrings in their favorite shape

  • Carved birthstone decor

  • August birthstone keychain

What matters most is that your gift is meaningful and comes from the heart!

Which August Birthstone Do You Adore?

Spinel and peridot may seem different, but they’re more alike than you’d think. Both represent light and renewal, and both have been mistaken for other gems. Along with sardonyx, these August birthstones offer a range of possibilities for celebrating anyone born at the end of summer!

Find traditional and alternative August birthstones from our hundreds of gemstones available!

Peridoto de piedra natal de agosto Cada mes del año tiene una piedra de nacimiento dedicada, ¡y algunos tienen la suerte de tener varias! Agosto es uno de esos meses, y uno de los tres meses del año con tres piedras preciosas únicas. ¿Cuáles son las piedras natales de agosto?

En esta guía de piedras de nacimiento de agosto, compartimos el significado, la historia y el simbolismo detrás de tres hermosas gemas.

¿Listo para aprender sobre las piedras natales de agosto? Siga leyendo a medida que avanzamos en la lista.

¿Cuáles son las piedras natales de agosto?

Las tres piedras natales de agosto son Peridot, Spinel y Sardonyx. Si bien comparten el mismo mes de nacimiento, cada una de estas gemas es completamente única. ¡Vamos a explorar!

Peridoto: la piedra natal oficial de agosto

El peridoto es una piedra preciosa que varía en color de amarillo verdoso a verde lima. Su coloración se debe a un mineral llamado olivino y, curiosamente, es por eso que esta gema solo viene en verde.

Por supuesto, encontrará una variedad de tonos y matices en el espectro verde. En última instancia, la coloración del peridoto depende de la cantidad de hierro presente en la estructura cristalina de la gema.

De todas las variaciones de peridoto, el verde oliva profundo es la más preciada y valiosa. Es comprensible, considerando que se ve hermoso cuando se coloca en piezas de joyería.

El olivino prevalece en la lava que se vierte en el manto de la Tierra. A medida que la lava se endurece, sube a la superficie de la Tierra. Olivine también viaja a la Tierra con meteoritos del espacio. Bastante ordenado, ¿verdad?

Entonces, ¿qué significa peridoto?

Peridoto de piedra de nacimiento de agosto

Significado de la piedra natal de peridoto

La historia y el simbolismo del peridoto de la piedra natal de agosto son fascinantes. Los orígenes de Peridot se remontan a Topazios, una isla en el Mar Rojo, que se remonta al siglo II a. C. El nombre, peridoto, proviene de faridat, la palabra árabe para gema.

Como piedra protectora, los antiguos se adornaban con esta joya verde para luchar contra los espíritus malignos y los terrores nocturnos.

Durante siglos, la gente ha confundido el peridoto con otras piedras preciosas como el topacio y la esmeralda. Por ejemplo, la catedral de Colonia en Alemania tiene un santuario sagrado de los Reyes Magos adornado con peridoto. Sin embargo, la mayoría creía que las joyas eran esmeraldas hasta que se probara lo contrario.

El peridoto es una de las tres piedras natales de agosto y también la joya de celebración del 16 aniversario.

Echemos un vistazo a la espinela, la piedra natal oficial más nueva de agosto.

Espinela: la última incorporación

La segunda piedra natal de agosto es la colorida joya de espinela. Si bien ha existido durante siglos, solo recientemente se reconoció como la tercera piedra preciosa de agosto.

La palabra en sí se traduce de la palabra latina para espina, espina. La espinela es una piedra de nacimiento divertida porque viene en una variedad de colores, ¡desde el naranja hasta el violeta y el rosa! Como puede imaginar, esta es una piedra de nacimiento de agosto porque puede personalizarla para que coincida con su color favorito.

Al igual que el peridoto, las personas comúnmente confunden la espinela con otras joyas, incluidos los rubíes, a pesar de sus diferencias químicas.

Eso es porque una espinela roja se parece sorprendentemente a una piedra preciosa rubí. Debido a que los colores de la espinela son tan vibrantes, la espinela azul a menudo se confunde con una gema de zafiro azul.

espinela de piedra de nacimiento de agosto

Significado de la piedra natal de espinela

La espinela proviene de varias fuentes, incluidas Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam, Myanmar y Pakistán. Lo que hace que la espinela sea tan hermosa es su coloración rica y vibrante. Cada color de esta hermosa gema está ricamente saturado, desde el rosa vibrante hasta el rojo intenso y el azul real.

Durante generaciones, la espinela ha ofrecido una curación natural para la inflamación y las enfermedades de la sangre. Además, las propiedades curativas de la espinela ayudan a aliviar las emociones negativas y fomentan la armonía y la paz.

Sardonyx - La antigua piedra natal de agosto

De las tres piedras natales de agosto, Sardonyx es la más antigua y se remonta a más de 4.000 años. Una antigua piedra de nacimiento de agosto, Sardonyx se compone químicamente de dos variaciones de cuarzo: sard y ónix.

¡Junte los dos y obtendrá Sardonyx! Esta piedra preciosa es tan antigua como la propia civilización. De hecho, durante el imperio romano, Sardonyx se usó en anillos de sello usados por la nobleza y la realeza. Estos anillos servían como sellos o firmas de figuras prominentes para firmar, sellar y entregar sus cartas.

Sardonyx es una piedra de nacimiento única debido a sus patrones y colores. El cuerpo de la gema aparece en tonos de marrón, rojo y naranja, con rayas de ónix blancas o negras.

Sardonyx funcionó a la perfección porque la cera caliente se adhirió fácilmente a él, lo que lo convirtió en una excelente opción para un anillo de sello. Otra gran característica de Sardonyx es que es un gran material que se utiliza para tallar camafeos para joyería.

Procedente de Brasil, República Checa, Alemania, Uruguay, Madagascar y los EE. UU., La variación de color exacta de la piedra se relaciona con sus orígenes. Si te encanta la variedad, ¡te encantarán los colores y patrones de esta piedra natal única de agosto!
piedra de nacimiento de agosto sardonyx

Significado de Sardonyx

Con su historia arraigada en la religión y la política, no sorprende que el significado de Sardonyx sea espiritual. Se cree que el uso de esta piedra natal de agosto confiere fuerza espiritual y protección contra la desgracia.

Con el tiempo, el simbolismo de esta piedra ha evolucionado para representar coraje, estabilidad, felicidad y comunicación saludable.

Hemos cubierto las tres piedras natales de agosto, pero es posible que todavía se pregunte: ¿por qué hay tantas?

¿Por qué agosto tiene tres piedras natales?

La verdad es que estas tres piedras de nacimiento no se reconocen universalmente. Si bien Sardonyx es el más antiguo de los tres, a menudo se elimina de la lista a favor de las adiciones más nuevas, peridoto y espinela.

De hecho, hasta hace unos años, agosto solo tenía dos piedras natales. Y antes de eso, Sardonyx fue la piedra de nacimiento principal de agosto.

¿Por qué las adiciones?

Actualmente, la piedra natal oficial de agosto es el peridoto, con espinela y Sardonyx como opciones secundarias. La razón por la que hay tres es que existen múltiples tablas de piedras natales.

La tabla de la piedra natal moderna reconoce al peridoto como la piedra natal oficial de agosto. Sin embargo, Sardonyx es la opción principal en la tabla antigua. La última incorporación a la tabla es la espinela, que marca la tercera incorporación reconocida a la tabla moderna. ¡Y así llegó agosto a tener tres piedras natales!

Esta es una excelente noticia para los cumpleaños de agosto, porque las opciones son infinitas, especialmente considerando los colores y patrones únicos que ofrecen estas tres joyas.

¿Tienes una piedra natal de agosto favorita? ¡Es hora de agregarlo a tu lista de cumpleaños! ¿Necesitas inspiración? ¡Explore nuestra colección de hermosas piedras natales por mes !


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