Ancient civilizations have ascribed magical or healing powers to certain gemstones. Birthstones are worn to enhance the qualities associated with them. Most important of all, they are believed to bring good luck.
Birthstones can be adorned on rings, amulets, necklaces, or pendants. Sometimes, people also wear them to enhance beauty, as each birthstone is unique and a matter of pride for the wearer.
Peridot is assigned as the birthstone for the month of August. The current assignment of specific gems to respective months was standardized by the American National Association of Jewelers, in 1912, which has since been universally accepted.
The Ancient Birthstone of August
Earlier, sardonyx was considered as the August birthstone. Sardonyx is a type of quartz. It is reddish-brown in color and has white bands. It has been used for making jewelry and seals for thousands of years.
Sardonyx symbolizes courage and was believed to bring victory. Therefore, it was adorned by the Greeks and the Romans. The Egyptians also wore sardonyx, as it was believed to bring good luck.
Many times, people confuse peridot with emerald. However, the significant difference is that emeralds are in shades of dark green, while peridots have a tinge of yellow in them.
Peridot gemstone is found near Egypt and the Red sea. It has been mined from St.John's island for over 3000 years. It is also mined in Myanmar (Burma), Australia, China, Brazil, and Arizona. Stones of the finest quality are found in Pakistan. The largest cut peridot in the world is of 310 carat.
Origin of the Name Peridot
There are many possible accounts about the origin of the name peridot. It is widely believed that the name peridot comes from Arabic word 'faridat', meaning gem.
Some people also believe that it is derived from the French word 'peritot', meaning unclear. The color of the gem is supposed to be unclear. The third account is that the word peridot originated from a Greek word 'peridona', which means richness.
Traces of peridot gemstone are found in ancient Egypt. St Johns island in Egypt was primarily the source of peridot. In those times, it was called the 'Gem of the Sun'. It is believed that the emeralds worn by Cleopatra, the famous Egyptian queen, were actually peridots.
In Hawaii, it symbolizes tears of goddess Pele. Transparent green grains of this gemstone are found on the beaches of Hawaii. However, they are too tiny to cut. Reference of this gemstone is also found in the Bible.
It is believed to have the power to repel evil spirits and also overcome nightmares. In ancient times, the force of nature was believed to be present in it. Ancient Egyptian priests used peridot cups, so that, they could be closer to the goddess of nature.