Jewelry History: August Birthstones

After spending about three hours searching for photos of August-born Halle Berry wearing peridot birthstone jewelry, failing at that, then trying to photoshop a peridot brooch onto her headshot and failing at that too, I can only conclude that peridots are some of the least-popular birthstones out there. Read on to find out why that’s a darn shame.

Peridots, with their distinctive gold-flecked shade of green, have a surprisingly cool history. It’s been mined for over a thousand years, and is mentioned by several ancient writers, including Pliny, and even makes an appearance in the Bible. The gem was so popular in ancient civilizations that it is rumoured to be the favourite stone of Cleopatra.

Peridots were used to decorate the headdresses of pharaohs and queens.

In more recent centuries, peridot continued to be popular among rulers and the wealthy. Medieval designers used the stone to decorate crosses and church altars, while in the 16th and 17th century, upper-class women adorned themselves with peridot jewelry. Still, peridots were frequently confused with the similarly-green-coloured emerald during this time. In fact, many royal “emerald” collections, once studied, turned out to be peridots. Because of its gold-ish highlights, some jewelers refer to peridots as “evening emeralds.”

Actress Charlize Theron (born August 7) wears a green dress. Maybe she’d like green jewelry too?

As the gem of August, peridot is one of the less-celebrated gems in the birthstone roster – a shame, since the stone’s vivid colour and metallic sparkle would make it an unusual and gorgeous addition to any piece of jewelry. Nevertheless, as birthstone jewelry starts to make a comeback – it peaked in the 70s, waned in the 90s, and is enjoying a renaissance now – the peridot is primed for popularity once again. We’d love to see peridots on August-born girls with a floral dress, or paired with anything eco-chic.

Martha Stewart (born August 3) has a green thumb – she should have some green gems, too!

It’s about time we embraced this greenish-gold gem and made it as popular as it deserves – whenever your birthday is.

To see our collection of peridot birthstone jewelry, click here.

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