August 01, 2009
August's birthstone, Peridot, is a light green gem with a mystical history.
Pronounced "pear-a-doe, " Peridot belongs to a mineral group known as Olivines. The yellowish green kind is called Chrysolite, a gem mentioned in the Bible as one of the decorations on the high priest's breastplate. The olive-green version is called Olivine. Sometimes called "the poor man's emerald, " the name Peridot comes from a Greek word "faridat, " which means "gem." It is also often referred to as "poor man's emerald". The traditional lime-green color associated with the Peridot makes it a popular gemstone for jewelry. How deep its green color will be, depends on how much iron is in the crystal structure. Whatever its shade, through the ages its color was thought to reflect many spiritual aspects of life.
The first documented source of Peridot was 4,000 years ago on an island off Egypt now called Zabargard. Early Crusaders called the isle on St. John's Island, and brought its green gems with them back to Europe. The ancients thought of Peridot as a springtime stone and considered it one of Mother Nature's gifts. However, if someone dreamed about Peridot, the dream was said to be a sign of coming danger. Christians also considered Peridot sacred. Today, Catholic bishops traditionally wear rings decorated with Peridot and amethyst, symbolizing the purity and morality of their church office.
As the stone assigned to those born in August, Peridot is said to impart love, faithfulness, truth and loyalty to its wearers. It's also thought to enhance prosperity, growth, and openness. Many New Age healers believe that Peridot is one of the few stones to which no negative energy will cling. It's said to improve mental clarity and to have a beneficial effect on the gall bladder and the liver, as well as the lungs, lymph system, breasts and sinuses. Today Peridot has moved far beyond the Egyptian isle where it was first discovered. The lovely green gem is mined in Arizona and Hawaii, Myanmar, Australia, Norway, South Africa and Brazil, making Peridot a citizen of the world.
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