August Birthstones: Peridot, Spinel and Sardonyx

August Birthstone PeridotEvery month of the year has a dedicated birthstone, and some are fortunate to have multiple! August is one of those months, and one of only three months out of the year with three unique gemstones. What are the birthstones for August?

In this August birthstone guide, we're sharing the meaning, history, and symbolism behind three beautiful gems.

Ready to learn about August birthstones? Keep reading as we go down the list.

What Are The Birthstones For August?

The three birthstones for August are Peridot, Spinel, and Sardonyx. While they share the same birth month, each one of these gems is entirely unique. Let's explore!

Peridot - The Official August Birthstone

Peridot is a gemstone that varies in color from yellow-green to lime green. Its coloring is due to a mineral called olivine, and interestingly, that's why this gem only comes in green.

Of course, you'll encounter a variety of shades and hues on the green spectrum. Ultimately, peridot's coloring depends on how much iron is present in the gem's crystalline structure.

Of all the variations of peridot, deep olive green is the most prized and valuable. Understandably so, considering it looks beautiful when set into jewelry pieces!

Olivine is prevalent in the lava that pours into the Earth's mantle. As the lava hardens, it rises to the Earth's surface. Olivine also travels to Earth with meteorites from space. Pretty neat, right?

So, what does peridot mean?

august birthstone peridot

Peridot Birthstone Meaning

The history and symbolism of the August birthstone peridot are fascinating. Peridot's origins trace to Topazios, an island in the Red Sea, dating back to the 2nd century BC. The name, peridot, comes from faridat, the Arabic word for gem. 

As a protective stone, ancient people adorned themselves in this green jewel to fight evil spirits and night terrors.

For centuries, people have confused peridot for other gemstones like topaz and emerald. For example, the Cologne Cathedral in Germany has a holy Shrine of the Three Kings adorned in peridot. However, most believed the jewels to be emeralds until they were proven otherwise.

Peridot is one of the three August birthstones, and also the celebratory 16th-anniversary gem.

Let's have a look at spinel, the newest official August birthstone.

Spinel - The Newest Addition

The second August birthstone is the colorful spinel. While it's been around for centuries, it only recently became recognized as the third August gemstone.

The word itself translates from the Latin word for thorn, spina. Spinel is a fun birthstone because it comes in an assortment of colors, from orange to violet to pink! As you can imagine, this is a prime August birthstone because you can personalize it to match your favorite color.

Like peridot, people commonly mistake spinel for other jewels, including rubies, despite their chemical differences.

That's because a red spinel looks strikingly similar to a ruby gemstone. Because spinel's colors are so vibrant, blue spinel is often mistaken for a blue sapphire gem.

august birthstone spinel

Spinel Birthstone Meaning

Spinel comes from several sources, including Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Pakistan. What makes spinel so beautiful is its rich and vibrant coloration. Each color of this beautiful gem is richly saturated, from vibrant pink to rich red to royal blue.

For generations, spinel has offered natural healing for inflammation and blood diseases. Also, spinel healing properties help to alleviate negative emotions and foster harmony and peace.

Sardonyx - The Ancient August Birthstone

Of all of the three August birthstones, Sardonyx is the oldest, tracing back over 4,000 years. An ancient August birthstone, Sardonyx is chemically composed of two variations of quartz: sard, and onyx.

Put the two together, and you get Sardonyx! This gemstone is as old as civilization itself. In fact, during the Roman empire, Sardonyx was used in signet rings worn by nobility and royalty. These rings served as stamps or signatures by prominent figures to sign, seal, and deliver their letters.

Sardonyx is a unique birthstone because of its patterns and coloring. The gem's body appears in shades of brown, red, and orange, streaked with white or black onyx stripes.

Sardonyx worked beautifully because hot wax easily clung to it, making it a prime choice for a signet ring. Another great feature of Sardonyx is that it's a great material used for carving cameos for jewelry.

Sourced from Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, Uruguay, Madagascar, and the U.S., the exact color variation of the stone relates to its origins. If you love variety, you'll love the colors and patterns of this unique August birthstone!
august birthstone sardonyx

Sardonyx Meaning

With its history rooted in religion and politics, it's no surprise that Sardonyx's meaning is spiritual. Wearing this August birthstone is believed to endow one with spiritual strength and protection from misfortune.

Over time, this stone's symbolism has evolved to represent courage, stability, happiness, and healthy communication.

We've covered the three August birthstones, but you might still be wondering: why are there so many?

Why Does August Have Three Birthstones?

The truth is, these three birthstones aren't universally recognized. While Sardonyx is the oldest of the three, it's often knocked off the list in favor of the newer additions, peridot and spinel.

In fact, up until a few years ago, August had only two birthstones. And before that, Sardonyx was the primary birthstone for August.

Why the additions?

Presently, the official August birthstone is peridot, with spinel and Sardonyx being secondary options. The reason there are three is that there are multiple birthstone charts.

The modern birthstone chart recognizes peridot as the official August birthstone. However, Sardonyx is the primary choice in the ancient chart. The latest addition to the chart is spinel, which marks the third recognized addition to the modern chart. And that's how August came to have three birthstones!

This is excellent news for August birthdays, because the options are endless, especially considering the unique colors and patterns these three jewels offer.

Do you have a favorite August birthstone? Time to add it to your birthday list! Need inspiration? Browse our collection of beautiful birthstones by month!


Was this article helpful?

5 people found this article helpful

Search the Gemstone Encyclopedia

A-Z Of Gemstones

A-Z Of Gemstones

A-Z Of Gemstones
334 articles
Additional Gemstone Information

Additional Gemstone Information

Additional Gemstone Information
60 articles
Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Did You Know?
78 articles
Drawing Design Awards

Drawing Design Awards

Drawing Design Awards
2 articles
Gem Rock Auctions Verified Sellers

Gem Rock Auctions Verified Sellers

Gem Rock Auctions Verified Sellers
3 articles
Holistic Gemstone Information

Holistic Gemstone Information

Holistic Gemstone Information
34 articles
How To's

How To's

How To's is where you will find helpful articles from gem Rock Auctions on how to cut gemstones, select gemstones and buy gemstones.
9 articles


News and events on Gem Rock Auctions
48 articles
Technical Information on Gemstones

Technical Information on Gemstones

Technical Information on Gemstones
30 articles