Peridot is the August Birthstone
Modern birthstone for August: Peridot
Traditional Birthstone for August: Sardonyx
Mystical birthstone for August: Diamond
Hindu/Indian birthstone for August: Sapphire
Also for these Sun Signs or Zodiac
This stone has been known for a very long time. The ancients (including Pliny the Elder) spoke of a gem called ro-pazos (corresponding to our word topaz) which, from the description, appears to be olivine. This gem was called ro-pazos because it came from an island in the Red Sea named Topazos, now known as Zebirget, a fact which tends to confirm that it was indeed olivine. This is obviously one of those cases in which an old gem name has survived but has subsequently become attached to a different gem.
Appearance: Typically olive green, olivine can be a strong, almost bottle green, or yellowish green. In the gem trade, the greener type tends to be called peridot, and the yellower type chrysolite. It has vitreous luster. Stones are usually transparent, with few inclusions and are given all types of mixed cuts, oval, round and pear-shaped, plus rectangular and square, step cuts. Gems of several carats are often seen, but very large stones are hardly ever found. Small stones are also cut and arranged in intricate patterns in jewelry.
Distinctive features: The particular color and luster are highly characteristic, although some tourmalines, zircons, and chrysoberyls may look much the same. A quick way of distinguishing them is by testing the density. Chrysoberyl and olivine also have very different refractive indices and chrysoberyl is usually more lustrous.
Occurrence: The island of Zebirget still supplies excellent olivines, as it did in antiquity. Others come from the United States (Arizona), the Hawaiian islands, Burma, and Brazil.
Value: Much appreciated in the past, olivine is the victim of changing fashions and is far less highly prized today. Even exceptionally fine, large stones do not fetch very high prices and smaller ones are very low-priced. Simulants and synthetics Olivine has been imitated by appropriately colored glass, synthetic corundum and synthetic spinel. It has also been synthesized experimentally, but its low value has discouraged such attempts.
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