August's Birthstones: The Dual Delights of Peridot & Spinel
De geboortestenen van augustus: Peridoot, Spinel en Sardonyx
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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!

Augustus Geboortesteen Peridoot Elke maand van het jaar heeft een speciale geboortesteen, en sommigen hebben het geluk er meerdere te hebben! Augustus is een van die maanden, en een van de slechts drie maanden van het jaar met drie unieke edelstenen. Wat zijn de geboortestenen voor augustus?

In deze geboortesteengids van augustus delen we de betekenis, geschiedenis en symboliek achter drie prachtige edelstenen.

Klaar om meer te weten te komen over geboortestenen in augustus? Blijf lezen terwijl we de lijst afgaan.

Wat zijn de geboortestenen voor augustus?

De drie geboortestenen voor augustus zijn Peridoot, Spinel en Sardonyx. Hoewel ze dezelfde geboortemaand delen, is elk van deze edelstenen volledig uniek. Laten we onderzoeken!

Peridoot - de officiële geboortesteen van augustus

Peridoot is een edelsteen die in kleur varieert van geelgroen tot limoengroen. De kleur is te danken aan een mineraal dat olivijn wordt genoemd, en interessant genoeg is dit de reden waarom dit juweel alleen in het groen verkrijgbaar is.

Natuurlijk kom je een verscheidenheid aan tinten en tinten tegen in het groene spectrum. Uiteindelijk hangt de kleur van peridoot af van hoeveel ijzer aanwezig is in de kristallijne structuur van de edelsteen.

Van alle variaties van peridoot is diep olijfgroen de meest gewaardeerde en waardevolle. Begrijpelijk, aangezien het er prachtig uitziet als het in sieraden wordt gezet!

Olivijn komt veel voor in de lava die in de aardmantel stroomt. Als de lava hard wordt, stijgt het naar het aardoppervlak. Olivine reist ook naar de aarde met meteorieten uit de ruimte. Best netjes toch?

Dus, wat betekent peridoot?

augustus geboortesteen peridoot

Peridoot Geboortesteen Betekenis

De geschiedenis en symboliek van de peridoot van de geboortesteen van augustus zijn fascinerend. De oorsprong van Peridoot gaat terug naar Topazios, een eiland in de Rode Zee, daterend uit de 2e eeuw voor Christus. De naam, peridoot, komt van faridat, het Arabische woord voor edelsteen.

Als beschermende steen versierden oude mensen zichzelf in dit groene juweel om boze geesten en nachtmerries te bestrijden.

Eeuwenlang hebben mensen peridoot verward met andere edelstenen zoals topaas en smaragd. De Dom van Keulen in Duitsland heeft bijvoorbeeld een heilige schrijn van de drie koningen, versierd met peridoot. De meesten geloofden echter dat de juwelen smaragden waren totdat het tegendeel werd bewezen.

Peridoot is een van de drie geboortestenen van augustus en ook de feestelijke edelsteen van het 16-jarig jubileum.

Laten we eens kijken naar spinel, de nieuwste officiële geboortesteen van augustus.

Spinel - De nieuwste toevoeging

De tweede geboortesteen van augustus is de kleurrijke spinel . Hoewel het al eeuwen bestaat, werd het pas onlangs erkend als de edelsteen van de derde augustus.

Het woord zelf vertaalt van het Latijnse woord voor doorn, spina. Spinel is een leuke geboortesteen omdat het in een assortiment van kleuren verkrijgbaar is, van oranje tot violet tot roze! Zoals je je kunt voorstellen, is dit een eersteklas geboortesteen voor augustus, omdat je hem kunt personaliseren zodat hij bij je favoriete kleur past.

Net als peridoot verwarren mensen spinel vaak met andere juwelen, waaronder robijnen, ondanks hun chemische verschillen.

Dat komt omdat een rode spinel opvallend veel lijkt op een robijnrode edelsteen. Omdat de kleuren van spinel zo levendig zijn, wordt blauwe spinel vaak aangezien voor een blauwe saffier-edelsteen.

augustus geboortesteen spinel

Spinel Geboortesteen Betekenis

Spinel komt uit verschillende bronnen, waaronder Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Vietnam, Myanmar en Pakistan. Wat spinel zo mooi maakt, is de rijke en levendige kleuring. Elke kleur van dit prachtige juweel is rijkelijk verzadigd, van levendig roze tot rijk rood tot koningsblauw.

Generaties lang biedt spinel natuurlijke genezing voor ontstekingen en bloedziekten. Ook helpen de helende eigenschappen van spinel om negatieve emoties te verlichten en harmonie en vrede te bevorderen.

Sardonyx - De oude geboortesteen van augustus

Van alle drie de geboortestenen van augustus is Sardonyx de oudste, die meer dan 4.000 jaar teruggaat. Sardonyx, een oude geboortesteen van augustus, is chemisch samengesteld uit twee variaties van kwarts: sard en onyx.

Zet de twee bij elkaar en je krijgt Sardonyx! Deze edelsteen is zo oud als de beschaving zelf. Tijdens het Romeinse rijk werd Sardonyx zelfs gebruikt in zegelringen die door adel en royalty werden gedragen. Deze ringen dienden als stempels of handtekeningen door prominente figuren om hun brieven te ondertekenen, te verzegelen en af te leveren.

Sardonyx is een unieke geboortesteen vanwege zijn patronen en kleuren. Het lichaam van de edelsteen verschijnt in de kleuren bruin, rood en oranje, gestreept met witte of zwarte onyxstrepen.

Sardonyx werkte prachtig omdat hete was er gemakkelijk aan bleef kleven, waardoor het een uitstekende keuze was voor een zegelring. Een ander geweldig kenmerk van Sardonyx is dat het een geweldig materiaal is dat wordt gebruikt voor het snijden van cameeën voor sieraden.

Afkomstig uit Brazilië, Tsjechië, Duitsland, Uruguay, Madagaskar en de VS, heeft de exacte kleurvariatie van de steen betrekking op zijn oorsprong. Als je van afwisseling houdt, zul je dol zijn op de kleuren en patronen van deze unieke geboortesteen van augustus!
augustus geboortesteen sardonyx

Sardonyx Betekenis

Met zijn geschiedenis geworteld in religie en politiek, is het geen verrassing dat de betekenis van Sardonyx spiritueel is. Het dragen van deze geboortesteen van augustus zou iemand spirituele kracht en bescherming tegen ongeluk schenken.

In de loop van de tijd is de symboliek van deze steen geëvolueerd om moed, stabiliteit, geluk en gezonde communicatie te vertegenwoordigen.

We hebben de drie geboortestenen van augustus besproken, maar je vraagt je misschien nog steeds af: waarom zijn het er zo veel?

Waarom heeft augustus drie geboortestenen?

De waarheid is dat deze drie geboortestenen niet universeel worden erkend. Hoewel Sardonyx de oudste van de drie is, wordt hij vaak van de lijst geslagen ten gunste van de nieuwere toevoegingen, peridoot en spinel.

In feite had augustus tot een paar jaar geleden slechts twee geboortestenen. En daarvoor was Sardonyx de primaire geboortesteen voor augustus.

Waarom de toevoegingen?

Momenteel is de officiële geboortesteen van augustus peridoot, met spinel en Sardonyx als secundaire opties. De reden dat er drie zijn, is dat er meerdere geboortesteenkaarten zijn.

De moderne geboortesteenkaart herkent peridoot als de officiële geboortesteen van augustus. Sardonyx is echter de eerste keuze in de oude kaart. De nieuwste toevoeging aan de kaart is spinel, de derde erkende toevoeging aan de moderne kaart. En zo kreeg August drie geboortestenen!

Dit is uitstekend nieuws voor verjaardagen in augustus, want de opties zijn eindeloos, vooral gezien de unieke kleuren en patronen die deze drie juwelen bieden.

Heb je een favoriete geboortesteen van augustus? Tijd om hem aan je verjaardagslijstje toe te voegen! Inspiratie nodig? Blader door onze collectie prachtige geboortestenen per maand !


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