PERIDOT: August Birthstone
The Romans called it the 'emerald of the evening' and it is possible that Cleopatra's emeralds were actually peridot. This birthstone of August is usually prized in its brilliant green color and it also occurs in a yellowish-green to olive color. The first known deposits of peridot were found on an island in the Red Sea near Egypt. It is believed that the stones were highly prized in ancient Egyptian jewelry. According to the USGS, large deposits of the stone were found in Myanmar (Burma) during the 1990's, but the political climate has prevented more mining of the stone. Arizona and New Mexico are now the largest suppliers of peridot. Stones from this area of the Southwestern United States tend to have a more yellowish or gold-brown color. On the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, only Native American's are allowed to mine the peridot. The mining in this area is still often done with a pick and hammer, and often families will work together to gather stones to sell.
Peridot is not consider easy to work with by cutters, as it may easily crack during the cutting process. The good news is that once is it cut, it does not require any special care and wears well. It is cut into a wide variety of shapes, including, triangle, round, emerald, oval, and pear, as well as many other shapes.
It is appropriate that peridot is the birthstone of August, as it makes a lovely complement to a summer wardrobe. It's also possible you would be sharing in the fashion choices of the famed Cleopatra. Besides the brilliant green color, peridot is associated with success, peace and good luck.
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