If you were born in August, you were lucky enough to have three birthstones! The three stones are Peridot, Spinel,and Sardonyx.
In ancient times, peridot was associated with light. According to Egyptian legend, it was called the "gem of the sun". It was believed to protect its owner from "terrors of the night", especially if it was made of gold. Those who wanted to ward off evil spirits strung gems on donkey hair and tied them around their left arms.
Volcanoes deliver most of the peridot to the surface after it forms deep inside the earth. It is said that some extraterrestrial peridot also came to earth via meteorites; however, retail jewellery stores are unlikely to carry this type of gemstone.
Peridot has a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Peridot is softer and can’t take hard wear. So it is not recommended to be worn for daily use, like in a ring. When it comes to cleaning peridot it has to be a delicate process. It should never be put into an ultrasonic cleaner or steam as it is vulnerable to thermal shock. Using a soft-bristle brush and mild dish soap in warm water is the best way to clean the peridot.
The colour of peridot is a gorgeous combination of yellow and green. As well as peridot being the August birthstone is it also the gemstone given to celebrate a 15th wedding anniversary.
Spinel is a modern addition to the August birthstones. It was underappreciated until recently. It comes in an array of different colours such as red, bright pink, orange, purple, blue, and bluish green. It was added to the list in 2016 by the AGTA (American Gem Trade Association) and the JA (Jewelers of America). Monarchs and emperors have mistaken this gemstone for ruby for centuries. In fact, many of the famous "rubies" of history were actually spinels.
In 1367, the Battle of Najera near Vittoria Henry II of Castile (Henry of Trastámara) led a revolt against his illegitimate brother, Peter of Castile (Don Pedro). Don Pedro made an alliance with Edward of Woodstock also known as the Black Prince and Prince of Wales (1330-76), son of King Edward III of England. The alliance was successful and as a reward the Black Prince demanded the “ruby” in exchange for his services.
The “ruby” later turned out to be a large, irregular cabochon red spinel. It weighs 34g and is 170 carats. It has been in the possession of England’s rulers since 1367 and has kept to its namesake. It wasn't until the 18th century that spinel and ruby were clearly separated due to their chemical differences. It is said that it passed to Spain in about 1366, where Don Pedro took it from the Moorish King of Granada.
The Black Prince’s Ruby is set in the cross pattee (a type of Christian cross) above the 317.40 carat Cullinan II diamond at the front of Great Britain’s Imperial State Crown.
Spinel hardness on the Mohs scale is 8, so it is quite a durable gemstone for rings and other types of jewellery. It can be used in steam and ultrasonic cleaners, however if there's a fracture in the stone it could be a problem. Alternatively, you can just be safe and use warm soapy water. High heat can sometimes cause the colours in spinel to fade.
The 22nd wedding anniversary is traditionally marked by the gift of spinel.
There have been more than 4,000 years of history associated with the birthstone of August, Sardonyx. Sardony is a combination of sard and onyx. The colours of Sardony have been described by the GIA “bands of brownish red to brown to dark orange sard alternate with typically white or black layers of onyx.” Sardonyx was a popular stone in ancient times as it was the stone used in signet rings and Roman seals. It would allow the hot wax to stick to it. It is most commonly known as a carving material for cameos.
Sardonyx has the same hardness as peridot. It is 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale and should be taken care of when wearing it. You should be extra careful with it if it is a ring. It should never be put into an ultrasonic cleaner or steam as it is vulnerable to thermal shock. Again, using a soft-bristle brush and mild dish soap in warm water is the best way to clean.
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