In 2016, August joined June and December as one of only three months to have three birthstones. With the addition of spinel in 2016, August babies now have endless color options to adorn for their birth month.
As wonderful as this is, why are there three birthstones?
It all started with Sardonyx in 1912. Sardonyx has been worn for thousands of years, often worn into battle. Sardonyx is made of two types of chalcedony: sard and onyx. Each layer of sard and onyx stack on top of each other to create brilliantly-striped stones that are usually varying shades of reddish-brown or yellowish-red.
As time passed, sardonyx faded from popularity, and a brighter, shinier gemstone was added to the August queue: Peridot.
This lime-green stone is unique for several reasons. Peridot is a form of olivine, which forms crystals in the Earth's mantle and are brought to the surface by volcanic or tectonic forces. Thus, peridot can be found around current or prehistoric volcanic and tectonic locations, including Hawaii, Arizona, China, Pakistan, and Africa. Peridot has also been found on meteorites, and has been spotted on Mars, making it the only known gemstone to form on another planet.
As interesting as peridot is, its bright green color comes from the composition of the mineral, not from trace minerals that snuck their way into the matrix like most gemstones, so peridots only come in green! While the shade of green can vary, it will always be green.
That is why the Jewelers of America and the American Gem Trade Association added spinel to the mix in 2016.
Spinel is usually a dark red stone, but can also be found in blues, greys, and oranges. In appearance, many spinels look like rubies and sapphires because of their colors, and the stones have been confused many times in history. The famous Black Prince Ruby and the Timur Ruby are both actually spinel.
Whether you fancy a lime-green peridot for summer festivities, a warm spinel necklace to wear in the winter, or a sardonyx brooch for a timeless look, August babies have no shortage of options no matter the season. Most amazingly, all of these three distinctly different gems were created by the forces of Nature. All the variations of minerals, temperatures, pressures, and inner-earth forces make for this wide variety. Enjoy!