How has everyone’s week been? We’ve been busy busy busy here at the museum! We got approximately 50 million boxes of new stock in on Thursday afternoon, so we’re furiously getting that organised and out onto the shop floor!
This week, I’d like to talk about August’s birthstone. Technically (according to Google), August has three birthstones; peridot, spinel and sardonyx, but for today I’ll only be talking about peridot (for no reason other than it’s the stone I usually associate with August).
Now, I would like to preface this with a comment about how, as a person with a (social) science degree, I don’t particularly believe in things like the healing properties of crystals etc. BUT! That’s not to say I don’t respect other people’s opinions, and am happy to include these in my writings today! Which, honestly, is how people should be, always. Respect other people’s opinions, even if you don’t believe in them (unless they are harmful beliefs!).
So! Peridot! The word of origin for peridot is from the French word peritôt, meaning unclear, because of the numerous inclusions and internal fractures often found within peridot gemstone beads. Peridot has been used and written about extensively throughout history. In ancient times, peridot stones were used for talismans featuring carved donkeys for spiritual enhancement and carved vultures for controlling the four winds and evil spirits.
Peridot was also highly regarded in Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians called peridot the “gem of the sun,” and some thought that it protected against nightmares. Furthermore, papyrus scrolls have been found to include records of the mining of peridot as early as 1500 B.C. on Topazo Island (now called St. John's Island) in the Egyptian Red Sea. The island's exact whereabouts became a mystery for several centuries until being rediscovered in 1905; navigators found it difficult to find as it was often shrouded in an impenetrable thick fog.
In addition, peridots are also closely connected to the Hawaiian culture—they are thought to be the tears of the volcano goddess Pele. The sand on the Big Island’s Papakolea Beach is a rare and beautiful green hue due to a high content of crushed olivine.
All peridots came to exist on Earth in one of two ways: either formed deep within the mantle of the Earth at high temperatures and brought to the surface by volcanic activity, or caught a ride on flaming meteorites (called pallasite meteorites). Most of the peridot seen in jewellery today comes from sources such as China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Tanzania, Vietnam and the United States.
Peridot is a rare gemstone that only occurs naturally in one colour - green. It is a form of Olivine, a mineral composed of magnesium and iron. With the inclusion of outside elements, certain gemstones can occur in every colour of the rainbow, however, peridot only comes in subtle shades of green. It will never be blue, red, purple, orange, or anything else! It is unique in its specificity.
Fun Fact! Peridot is also given in celebration of the 16th year of marriage.
Known as the stone of compassion, peridot is believed to bring good health, restful sleep and peace to relationships by balancing emotions and mind. This friendly bright green stone also has the uncanny ability to inspire eloquence and creativity; it also brings delight and good cheer. It attracts love and calms anger by giving renewal to all things.
So there you go! That’s all about peridot! I actually really enjoyed researching this stone, I didn’t know about its history in regards to Ancient Egypt and Hawaii. Very cool stuff!!!
What would you like to hear about next? Comment below any thoughts, feelings, or opinions!
Stay safe and healthy!