August's Birthstones: The Dual Delights of Peridot & Spinel
Les pierres de naissance d'août : péridot, spinelle et sardoine
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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!

Pierre de naissance d'août Péridot Chaque mois de l'année a une pierre de naissance dédiée, et certains ont la chance d'en avoir plusieurs ! Août est l'un de ces mois, et l'un des trois seuls mois de l'année avec trois pierres précieuses uniques. Quelles sont les pierres de naissance du mois d'août ?

Dans ce guide des pierres de naissance d'août, nous partageons la signification, l'histoire et le symbolisme derrière trois magnifiques joyaux.

Prêt à en savoir plus sur les pierres de naissance d'août ? Continuez à lire au fur et à mesure que nous descendons dans la liste.

Quelles sont les pierres de naissance du mois d'août ?

Les trois pierres de naissance du mois d'août sont le péridot, le spinelle et le sardonyx. Bien qu'ils partagent le même mois de naissance, chacun de ces joyaux est entièrement unique. Explorons!

Péridot - La pierre de naissance officielle d'août

Le péridot est une pierre précieuse dont la couleur varie du jaune-vert au vert citron. Sa coloration est due à un minéral appelé olivine, et c'est intéressant, c'est pourquoi cette gemme n'existe qu'en vert.

Bien sûr, vous rencontrerez une variété de nuances et de teintes sur le spectre vert. En fin de compte, la coloration du péridot dépend de la quantité de fer présente dans la structure cristalline de la gemme.

De toutes les variations de péridot, le vert olive foncé est le plus prisé et le plus précieux. C'est compréhensible, étant donné qu'il est magnifique lorsqu'il est serti dans des bijoux !

L'olivine est répandue dans la lave qui se déverse dans le manteau terrestre. Au fur et à mesure que la lave durcit, elle remonte à la surface de la Terre. Olivine se rend également sur Terre avec des météorites de l'espace. Plutôt chouette, non ?

Alors, que signifie péridot ?

péridot de pierre de naissance d'août

Signification de la pierre de naissance du péridot

L'histoire et le symbolisme du péridot de la pierre de naissance d'août sont fascinants. Les origines de Peridot remontent à Topazios, une île de la mer Rouge, datant du IIe siècle av. Le nom, péridot, vient de faridat, le mot arabe pour gemme.

Pierre protectrice, les anciens se paraient de ce joyau vert pour combattre les mauvais esprits et les terreurs nocturnes.

Pendant des siècles, les gens ont confondu le péridot avec d'autres pierres précieuses comme la topaze et l'émeraude. Par exemple, la cathédrale de Cologne en Allemagne possède un sanctuaire sacré des Trois Rois orné de péridot. Cependant, la plupart croyaient que les bijoux étaient des émeraudes jusqu'à ce qu'il soit prouvé le contraire.

Le péridot est l'une des trois pierres de naissance d'août, ainsi que le joyau du 16e anniversaire.

Jetons un coup d'œil au spinelle, la plus récente pierre de naissance officielle d'août.

Spinelle - Le plus récent ajout

La deuxième pierre de naissance d'août est le spinelle coloré. Bien qu'elle existe depuis des siècles, elle n'a été reconnue que récemment comme la pierre précieuse du troisième août.

Le mot lui-même se traduit du mot latin pour épine, spina. Le spinelle est une pierre de naissance amusante car elle se décline dans un assortiment de couleurs, de l'orange au violet en passant par le rose ! Comme vous pouvez l'imaginer, il s'agit d'une pierre de naissance d'août car vous pouvez la personnaliser pour qu'elle corresponde à votre couleur préférée.

Comme le péridot, les gens confondent souvent le spinelle avec d'autres bijoux, y compris les rubis, malgré leurs différences chimiques.

C'est parce qu'un spinelle rouge ressemble étonnamment à une pierre précieuse rubis. Parce que les couleurs du spinelle sont si vibrantes, le spinelle bleu est souvent confondu avec une gemme de saphir bleu.

spinelle de pierre de naissance d'août

Signification de la pierre de naissance du spinelle

Le spinelle provient de plusieurs sources, dont le Sri Lanka, la Tanzanie, le Vietnam, le Myanmar et le Pakistan. Ce qui rend le spinelle si beau, c'est sa coloration riche et vibrante. Chaque couleur de ce magnifique bijou est richement saturée, du rose vif au rouge riche en passant par le bleu royal.

Pendant des générations, le spinelle a offert une guérison naturelle pour l'inflammation et les maladies du sang. De plus, les propriétés curatives du spinelle aident à atténuer les émotions négatives et favorisent l'harmonie et la paix.

Sardonyx - L'ancienne pierre de naissance d'août

De toutes les trois pierres de naissance d'août, Sardonyx est la plus ancienne, remontant à plus de 4 000 ans. Ancienne pierre de naissance du mois d'août, le Sardonyx est chimiquement composé de deux variations de quartz : le sardoine et l'onyx.

Mettez les deux ensemble et vous obtenez Sardonyx ! Cette pierre précieuse est aussi ancienne que la civilisation elle-même. En fait, pendant l'empire romain, le Sardonyx était utilisé dans les chevalières portées par la noblesse et la royauté. Ces anneaux servaient de tampons ou de signatures à des personnalités éminentes pour signer, sceller et livrer leurs lettres.

Sardonyx est une pierre de naissance unique en raison de ses motifs et de sa coloration. Le corps de la gemme apparaît dans des tons de brun, de rouge et d'orange, strié de rayures d'onyx blanches ou noires.

Le sardonyx fonctionnait à merveille car la cire chaude s'y accrochait facilement, ce qui en faisait un choix de choix pour une chevalière. Une autre grande caractéristique du Sardonyx est qu'il s'agit d'un excellent matériau utilisé pour sculpter des camées pour les bijoux.

Provenant du Brésil, de la République tchèque, de l'Allemagne, de l'Uruguay, de Madagascar et des États-Unis, la variation exacte de la couleur de la pierre est liée à ses origines. Si vous aimez la variété, vous adorerez les couleurs et les motifs de cette pierre de naissance unique du mois d'août !
pierre de naissance d'août sardonyx

Sardonyx Signification

Avec son histoire enracinée dans la religion et la politique, il n'est pas surprenant que la signification de Sardonyx soit spirituelle. On pense que le port de cette pierre de naissance d'août confère une force spirituelle et une protection contre le malheur.

Au fil du temps, le symbolisme de cette pierre a évolué pour représenter le courage, la stabilité, le bonheur et une communication saine.

Nous avons couvert les trois pierres de naissance d'août, mais vous vous demandez peut-être encore : pourquoi y en a-t-il autant ?

Pourquoi le mois d'août a-t-il trois pierres de naissance ?

La vérité est que ces trois pierres de naissance ne sont pas universellement reconnues. Bien que Sardonyx soit le plus ancien des trois, il est souvent éliminé de la liste au profit des nouveaux ajouts, péridot et spinelle.

En fait, jusqu'à il y a quelques années, le mois d'août n'avait que deux pierres de naissance. Et avant cela, Sardonyx était la principale pierre de naissance du mois d'août.

Pourquoi les ajouts ?

Actuellement, la pierre de naissance officielle d'août est le péridot, le spinelle et le sardonyx étant des options secondaires. La raison pour laquelle il y en a trois est qu'il existe plusieurs cartes de pierres de naissance.

Le tableau des pierres de naissance modernes reconnaît le péridot comme la pierre de naissance officielle d'août. Cependant, Sardonyx est le premier choix dans l'ancienne carte. Le dernier ajout au tableau est le spinelle, qui marque le troisième ajout reconnu au tableau moderne. Et c'est ainsi qu'August en est venu à avoir trois pierres de naissance !

C'est une excellente nouvelle pour les anniversaires d'août, car les options sont infinies, surtout compte tenu des couleurs et des motifs uniques que ces trois bijoux offrent.

Avez-vous une pierre de naissance préférée en août ? Il est temps de l'ajouter à votre liste d'anniversaire ! Besoin d'inspiration ? Parcourez notre collection de belles pierres de naissance par mois !


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