August’s Birthstones arePeridot and Spinel Check out ourPeridotboard on Pinterest for more photos and info! Ring in 22 karat gold by Julie Rauschenberger, featuring a peridot center stone.
The fresh lime green of peridot is its distinctive signature. Its spring green color also is ideal with sky blue. Peridot is treasured in Hawaii as the goddess Pele's tears. The island of Oahu even has beaches made out of tiny grains of peridot. Although Hawaii’s volcanoes have produced some peridot large enough to be cut into gemstones, virtually all peridot sold in Hawaii today is from Arizona, another state with extreme geology.
Today most peridot is mined, often by hand, by Native Americans on the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Peridot found here is beautiful in color but relatively small in size. Faceted peridot from Arizona is rare in sizes above five carats. Fine large peridot are found in Burma and large quantities of peridot are also mined in China. In 1994, an exciting new deposit of fine peridot was discovered in Pakistan, 15,000 feet above sea level in the far west of the Himalaya Mountains in the Pakistanian part of Kashmir.
Peridot, the birthstone for August, is harder than metal but softer than many gemstones. Store peridot jewelry with care to avoid scratches and protect from blows. Because peridot is sensitive to rapid changes in temperature, never have it steam cleaned and avoid ultrasonics. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect. Your AGTA jeweler will tell you how to best care for your peridot.
Spinel Centuries ago, in Sanskrit writings, spinel was called the daughter of ruby, adored, yet somehow different. The Crown Jewels of Great Britain are graced with spinel and have resided in the regalia of kingdoms throughout history. In the past, before the arrival of modern science, spinels and rubies were equally known as rubies. After the 18th century the word ruby was only used for the red gem variety of the mineral corundum and the word spinel came to be used. Found in Myanmar (Burma) and Sri Lanka, spinel comes in a variety of colors including oranges, pink, blues, lavenders, mauves and vivid reds. While common in sizes up to 2 carats, larger gemstones can also be acquired.
Spinel, an alternate birthstone for the month of August, is thought to protect the owner from harm, to reconcile differences, and to soothe away sadness. However, the strongest reasons for buying a spinel are its rich, brilliant array of colors and it's surprising affordability. ---------- In addition to the above information from the AGTA and other sources, you can find facts about these of gems and more at the"Gems and Gem Materials"online course, through the University of California-Berkeley's Department of Earth and Planetary Science. The website is available for the general public, and contains a wealth of information for the budding gemologist and anyone interested in learning more about gemstones. Hanna Cook-Wallace has contributed to this site, which was developed by Jill Banfield while teaching at the University of Wisconsin.