Sardonyx combines alternating layers of sard and onyx to create a reddish zebra-striped gemstone with white bands. It is one of three of August’s birthstones.
Used as a stone of strength and protection in ancient times, sardonyx is associated with courage, happiness, and clear communication. Ancients believed that placing a sardonyx gemstone at each corner of a house would grant protection against evil.
Amulets and talismans made of sardonyx were thought to give the wearer a boost of energy. Ancient Romans would carve Mars—the god of war—or Hercules into the gemstone to promote courage.
Sardonyx was used in the Middle Ages to counteract the supposedly negative effects of onyx. It was believed that the latter gemstone brought out anxiety, sadness, and anger—and even demons. They felt sardonyx could balance it out.
Religious texts also reference sardonyx. For example, it’s used as the first foundation stone in the walls of New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation.
Legend has it that sardonyx can help with depression, willpower, and confidence. It can help one find integrity, meaning, and happiness. Those who practice yoga have found it helps with meditation.
It’s been a year since spinel was added to August’s birthstone line up. Those celebrating a birthday during the eighth calendar month now have three gemstone choices: peridot, sardonyx, and spinel.
Blue spinel by Gem 2000.
For those who are still unfamiliar with spinel, it is often assumed to be other gemstones, like ruby or sapphire. Cobalt blue, like the one above, is one of the most desired colors. But it can be found in a variety of colors, such as the much coveted red, as well as black, violet blue, greenish blue, grayish, pale pink, mauve, yellow or brown. Spinel can also be found in various cuts, like octagons, trillions, squares, rounds and fancy shapes, like ovals, pears, and cushions.
No matter what the shape, spinel is spectacular! Take a look at these designs by our AGS members. Click on the images for a closer view.
The Kalmia bracelet by Yael Designs features opal cabochons accented with pink spinel.
Affinity bracelet by Coffin & Trout Fine Jewellers, featuring multi-colored spinel and round brilliant cut diamonds.
Emerald cut purple spinel, pink and white diamond ring by Omi Prive.
Peridot by Gem 2000.
The verdant peridot is the gemstone most commonly associated with August. Peridot’s recognizable green hue could sometimes vary from yellowish-green to olive to brownish green, contingent on how much iron is present. Yet the finest peridot is a brilliant green without any hints of brown or yellow.
Our AGS members will help you find the perfect peridot for you! Click on the images for a closer view.
Hand-hammered Fiddlehead earrings by Ed Levin Jewelry featuring peridot in the center.
Peridot and sterling sliver ring by Michael Schofield & Co.
Oval checkerboard peridot and diamond neck piece by Parle.
Since as far back as Roman times, sardonyx has been highly valued as a stone representing strength, courage, happiness, and clear communication.
The unique reddish, zebra-striped banding of sardonyx stands out beautifully when the stone is smoothed, so it is often cut in cabochon and worn as beads or featured in an eye-catching pendant or ring.
Sardonyx makes a great gift for those born in August who want something a little different than the traditional birthstone. Readily available and relatively inexpensive, sardonyx makes an affordable addition to anyone’s collection.
We have a birthday present for those born in August: the spectacular spinel has been added to your month’s birthstone lineup! August now joins June and December as the only months represented by three gems. The original August birthstone was Sardonyx, and then peridot was added, becoming August’s primary gem. Without further ado, let’s welcome the spinel!
The spinel is often assumed to be other gemstones because it tends to resemble either a ruby or sapphire. In fact, some of the most famous rubies in history have turned out to be spinel. But its distinguishing features, like its octahedral crystal structure and single refraction, are what sets it apart from other gems. Spinel also has a lower Mohs hardness than ruby and sapphire.
Significant deposits of spinel have been found in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. It has also been found in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, Tadzhikistan, Tanzania and the U.S.
Vivid red is the most desirable color of spinel gemstones, followed by cobalt blue, bright pink and bright orange. The more affordable stones are often those with paler colors, like lavender. You may also find spinel in black, violet blue, greenish blue, grayish, pale pink, mauve, yellow or brown. So many choices!
When shopping for spinel, a good quality stone should have no visible inclusions. The more inclusions, the less valuable the stone. Spinel can be found various cuts, like octagons, trillions, squares, rounds and fancy shapes, like ovals, pears, and cushions.
Below is a collection of designs featuring the newest August birthstone: the spectacular spinel!
AG Gems designed this ring featuring a natural purple spinel flanked by two natural half-moon cut violet spinels, set in 18k white gold, and accented by pink sapphires and diamonds.
Sterling Silver Classic Chain Medium Bracelet with pink spinel by John Hardy.
Omi Privé 18k yellow gold ring featuring a 3.27 carat oval spinel, round spinels, and round diamonds.
The signature green color of peridot comes from the composition of the mineral itself—rather than from trace impurities, as with many gems. That is why peridot is one of few stones that only comes in one color, though shades may vary from yellowish-green to olive to brownish green, depending how much iron is present.
Most of the world’s peridot supply comes from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Other sources are China, Myanmar, Pakistan and Africa.
Also known as “the Evening Emerald” because its sparkling green hue looks brilliant any time of day, peridot is said to possess healing properties that protect against nightmares and evil, ensuring peace and happiness. Babies born in August are lucky to be guarded by peridot’s good fortune.
Peridot can be assessed with the same 4Cs criteria as diamonds—using Color, Clarity, Cut, and Carat weight to determine value. The finest peridots have a lovely lime green hue without any hints of brown or yellow. Quality gems have no inclusions visible to the naked eye, though dark spots may be evident under a microscope. When you look closely, due to double refraction, you may see two of each facet on a peridot.
Whether you’re shopping for an August birthday or a 16th wedding anniversary, be sure to visit an AGS-certified jeweler. They will help you find the perfect peridot design, like those pictured below!
Whirl Peridot and Burnished Diamond Ring by Carelle.
Oxidized Sterling Silver and 24k Gold “Candy” Earring with Oval Peridot Cabochon, by Lika Behar Collection.
Erica Courtney presents 18k Yellow Gold “Chevron” Ring Featuring a 9.81ct Peridot, Accented with 1.04ctw diamonds.
Sardonyx combines alternating layers of sard and onyx—two types of the layered mineral chalcedony—to create a reddish zebra-striped stone with white bands.
Sard ranges in color from yellowish red to reddish brown, depending how much iron oxide is present. Sard is easily confused with carnelian, another type of chalcedony that is slightly softer and lighter in color.
Sardonyx, like onyx, shows layers of parallel bands—instead of the chaotic, curved bands that compose agate, another type of chalcedony.
The finest examples of sardonyx, which display sharp contrasts between layers, are found in India. Other sources include Brazil, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Madagascar, Uruguay, and the United States.
Used as a stone of strength and protection since ancient times, sardonyx is associated with courage, happiness, and clear communication. Some believe that placing sardonyx at each corner of a house will grant protection against evil.
Sardonyx makes a great gift for people born in August who want something a little different than the traditional peridot birthstone. Readily available and relatively inexpensive, sardonyx makes an affordable addition to anyone’s collection.
The qualify factors of sardonyx are not as clearly defined as other gems like diamonds, so ask an AGS-certified jeweler for help selecting good stones. Generally, the 4Cs still apply.
Sardonyx is widely available and moderately priced in sizes up to 10 carats. The most common cut is cabochon, though it is popularly carved into cameos, intaglios, inlays and broaches to emphasize the contrast between layers.
Artificial and imitation sardonyx has been produced from common chalcedony and plain agate as far back as Roman times, according to writings from first-century naturalist, Pliny. Some gems are also stained with iron oxide pigment or treated with nitric acid to enhance color. These enhancements make stones less valuable than natural sardonyx, so watch for possible imitations when buying these gems.
With tomorrow marking the first day of August, we’d like to wish all the August babies a happy birthday! You have two special birthstones associated with the month of August. Both of which are not only unique and beautiful, but very representative of power and courage. Read on to learn more about the birthstones of August, peridot and sardonyx.
Peridot is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year.
As peridot is a gemstone that forms deep inside the Earth and brought to the surface by volcanoes, in Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes.
Today, most of the peridot supply comes from Arizona; other sources are China, Myanmar, and Pakistan. This gemstone comes in several color variations ranging from yellowish green to brown, but most consumers are attracted to the bright lime greens and olive greens. Peridot, in smaller sizes, often is used in beaded necklaces and bracelets.
14K yellow gold, peridot and diamond earrings from Parlé Jewelry Design
Sardonyx is a form of onyx and is recognized by its layers of reddish brown and white banding.
It was popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans who carried into battle talismans of sardonyx engraved with images of heroes such as Mars or Hercules, believing that this would bring courage and victory.
Because of its attractive banding, sardonyx has long been used to fashion cameos (carved raised figures) and intaglios (the reverse of cameos). This gemstone is found throughout the world. The most attractive specimens are found in India, but material also is mined in Czechoslovakia, Brazil, Uruguay, Germany, and in the United States.
14k yellow gold filigree ring circa 1950 from Stanley Jewelers Gemologist; Little Rock, AR
To all of those celebrating birthdays in August, we wish you a very happy birthday. And to everyone, we wish you a very happy August. If you’d like to learn more about any month’s birthstone, click here.