Peridot and Sardonyxperidot_gem1.jpg

"Wear a peridot or for thee,
No conjugal fidelity,
The August born without this stone,
`Tis said, must live unloved; alone."


The peridot was regarded since ancient times as the symbol of the sun. The Greeks believed that it brought royal dignity upon its wearer. During the Middle Ages, peridot was pierced, then strung on the hair of an ass and attached to the left arm to ward off evil spirits. The Crusaders thought that peridots were emeralds, and brought them back to Europe where they were featured as ornaments in churches.

peridot_raw1.jpgPeridot is a gem-quality transparent variety of olivine, a mineral composed of magnesium-iron silicates. The color of olivine ranges from olive to lime green, sometimes with a brownish tinge. The green color is due to the presence of iron, while the brownish tinge indicates a higher iron content.

Some of the finest peridot stones are called “evening emeralds” because they appear greener under artificial light.


Sardonyx is a variety of the silica mineral called chalcedony. This sort of mineral contains translucent or opaque layers of tiny quartz fibres which are stacked on top of each other to give a banded appearance.

Sardonyx stones usually contain white and brownish-red bands. The word Sardonyx is derived from the Greek, Sard meaning “reddish brown,” and onyx meaning “veined gem.” 

Roman soldiers wore sardonyx talismans engraved with heroes such as Hercules or Mars, god of war: they believed that the stone would make the wearer as brave and daring as the figured carved on it, and that it would also guard them from evil and bring good fortune. During the Renaissance, sardonyx was believed to bring eloquence to the wearer and was highly valued by public speakers and orators.  

sardonyx_raw1.jpgCameos and intaglios are often carved from Sardonyx. Cameos are figures carved on a stone, where the white layer appears as relief and the coloured layer is the background. Intaglios are the reverse of cameos: they are incised figures on the stone, where the stone is carved through the dark layer to reveal the light layer.

Sardonyx is a relatively common and inexpensive gemstone. It was a favorite gemstone in ancient times, popular not only because it was attractive, but also because it was widely available and therefore - Unlike most rare gemstones that could only be bought with the wealth of royalty and nobility - sardonyx could be obtained by many less-wealthy people.

August Birthstone Gifts