Birthstone of the month

In the month of August, there are two birthstones; spinel and peridot. Spinel had its name derived from the Latin word spina, which means ‘thorn’ due to the shape of the spinel crystal. Peridot came from the Arabic word faridat, meaning gem. These two gemstones come in a variety of colours, but while spinels range from many- intense red, to vibrant pink, orange, purple, violet, blue, and even bluish green, peridots only come in hues of green and yellowish green.

Throughout history, these gemstones were often mistaken for other precious gemstones, spinels for rubies, and peridots for emeralds and topaz. One of which was the historical Black Prince’s ‘ruby’, which was revealed later on in the 18th century to be spinel rather than the former gemstone. Spinels are traditionally given on the 22nd wedding anniversary, while peridots are given on the 15th wedding anniversary.

 

Spinel is 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, so it is durable enough to withstand daily wear as rings and other jewellery. The gemstone can be cleaned with ultrasonic and steam cleaners, but if it has fractures it would be best to simply clean it with warm soapy water instead.

 

Peridot on the other hand, is 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. Peridot gemstones are prone to thermal shock, so steam or ultrasonic cleaners are not advisable. It is safest to clean peridot jewellery with a soft bristle brush and mild dish soap in warm water. Take extra care when storing peridot as they can be scratched when in contact with other gemstones with greater hardness. (Source: GIA)