Friday, August 26, 2011

August Birthstone: Peridot

Peridot is the official birthstone for the month of August.  Gem quality peridot comes from Arizona, Burma, Norway, islands in the Red Sea, Hawaii and is sometimes found in meteorites. It has been mined as a gemstone for over 3000 years, and is even mentioned in the Bible under the name of Chrysolite. 

The earliest known peridot mine was on the island that is now known as St. John’s Island, about fifty miles outside Egypt.  Legend says that peridot was one of the favorite gemstones of Cleopatra and that some of the 'emeralds' worn by her were actually peridot.

Pirates really respected the peridot. They wore it as a protection from evil spirits but to be effective against it had to be strung on donkey hair and worn on the left wrist. Peridot was also said to ward off nightmares and evil spirits in the night if one slept with it beneath the pillow.

Peridot is a clear, transparent green stone, ranging in hue from the vibrant green of spring grass to the muddy deep hues of an olive. The more clear and vibrant the green, the more valued the stone is considered. Because of the particular refractive properties of peridot, the stone has a velvety appearance rather than the fiery sparkle of an emerald.

Wearing a peridot is believed to promote peace of mind & calmness and to heal depression & mental illness.  Peridot is considered to be a tonic for the entire body rather than being associated with any particular system of the body.  In days gone by, medicines were often served in cups of peridot because it was believed that peridot enhanced the healing properties of the medicines.

The stone is said to promote openness in relationships, warmth, friendliness and love making it an ideal stone to be exchanged between friends to promote a long and healthy friendship. It is also the official gemstone of the first wedding anniversary, when love is still young – green and growing like a spring plant.

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