The many-named peridot has a storied past stretching back to the shining kingdoms of Ancient Egypt. Found in a small island in the Red Sea, called alternately Serpent Isle or Topazos and currently St. John’s Isle, the stone was highly prized for its brilliant green hue that shines brightly in the sun. Ancient cultures called the gemstone “topaz” or “topazius” (from Topazos), or by the Greek denomination “chrysolite” meaning “golden” and “stone,” or it was sometimes referred to as “olivine,” for its green color. Later visitors to the area, namely the crusaders, mistook the verdant gem for an emerald and brought many impressive examples of the stone back to Europe to fill the coffers of kings and cathedrals.
It is no surprise, then, that the gemstone has long been called the “evening emerald.” Legends of Serpent Isle tell that the stone would glow in the dark, making it easy for miners to mark the spots where the stone would be found the next day. Indeed, the peridot has long been considered to be the gem of the sun. With radiant tones that vary from a brownish-green to olive to yellow-green or lime tones, the peridot is most prized for a deep, intense green that is often enlivened by a hint of gold. Peridot is one of a few gemstones that exist only in one color — there are no blue, pink or clear peridot.
Peridot is the birthstone for the month of August, for which Leo is the prominent Zodiac sign. It makes sense that a month in which temperatures soar and the sun makes its mark on the fertile earth would be associated with the stone and sign. Though the even-toned peridot is often paired with the even-tempered Libra, there are strong superstitious correlations between limelight-loving Leo and the sun-kissed stone.
Leo, figured as a lion, is one of the strongest-willed of all Zodiac signs. They adore being in the spotlight and prefer to display their impressive creative talents to as large an audience as possible. Leo’s are known for their confidence, outgoing nature and general enthusiasm for life and because of these qualities, they are one of the most personally attractive signs. These dynamic lions are loyal and fun-loving but can tend towards vanity — a product of thriving at center stage. Still, when times are tough, these leonine folk are great to have at your side where they will shine like a beacon of strength.
Similarly, peridot as a gem of the sun has long been considered as talismanic against phantoms, bad spirits and night-terrors. The creatures of darkness were thought to be powerless against the peridot, which was imbued with the strength and radiant light of the sun. As a green stone, the peridot has natural associations with fertility and was thought to aid in healing and to promote spiritual growth. Just as Leos exist to shine, create and bring new life to the world around them, so too does the peridot.
Whether you’re born in August or simply have a taste for the “lime”-light, peridot is a bright and cheerful way to add a pop of color to your jewelry box. It’s certainly one of our favorite ways to go green!