Peridot, Sardonyx, and Spinel are the three birthstones for August. Though Peridot is the most commonly known, Sardonyx is the original August birthstone, with a history that dates back more than 4,000 years. Spinel however, wasn't officially included until 2016. One of our favorite gems at A+T, spinel has been under-appreciated until recent.
Peridot has always been associated with light. In fact, the Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun.” Some believed that it protected its owner from “terrors of the night,” especially when it was set in gold. Others strung the gems on donkey hair and tied them around their left arms to ward off evil spirits.
The word peridot comes from the Arabic “faridat,” which means “gem.” Most peridot formed deep inside the earth and was delivered to the surface by volcanoes. Some also came to earth in meteorites, but this extraterrestrial peridot is extremely rare, and not likely to be seen in a retail jewelry store.
Some historians believe that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection might actually have been peridot. People in medieval times continued to confuse peridot with emerald. For centuries, people believed the fabulous 200-ct. gems adorning the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral were emeralds. They are, in fact, peridots.
The name "spinel" comes from the latin word spina, which means thorn, in reference to the shape of spinel crystals. Coming in a wide range of colors, intense reds, pink, orange, purple, blue, grey and black, spinel was often mistaken for other gemstones. Until the 18th century, red spinel and rubies were difficult to distinguish, and many historic "rubies" turned out to actually be spinel. With a Mohs hardness of 8, spinel is very durable for every day wear, making it a great choice for someone looking for a non-diamond engagement ring with a pop of color. Grey spinel is actually one of A+T shop owner + designer Viviana Langhoff's favorite stones to work with. In some lights it looks dark grey, in others it has a blue/lavender tone, and always a beautiful sparkle.
Interested in creating a one-of-a-kind piece with spinel or peridot? Make a custom consultation appointment with Viviana online now!
Shop our favorite spinel rings by Viviana Langhoff below!
14K rose gold with a pear shaped grey spinel and white, salt+pepper, and black diamonds. This piece is named after Luisa Marchesa Casati, an Italian heiress, muse, and patroness of the arts in early 20th-century Europe.
*photographed with a custom grey diamond engagement ring (top)*
This 14K gold ring is named for Dior's first female creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, features a stunning larger baguette black spinel stone surrounded by a diamond halo.
This 14K yellow gold ring features deco milgrain detail and a center emerald cut black spinel. Named for Zelda Fitzgerald, this statement piece is as gorgeous and inspiring as her namesake.
The name says it all! This gasp-worthy 14k white gold ring features an incredible grey spinel center stone accentuated by a .75ct diamond halo. Perfect for the bride who loves glamour with a twist.