August Birthstone Guide

The month of August, along with June and December, offers three attractive gemstones to claim for your birthstone. Each gemstone has its own unique qualities along with a spectrum of colors and price points. These three gemstones are peridot, spinel, and sardonyx.


Peridot is a gem variety of olivine that has a greenish-yellow and yellowy-green color, it is quite bright lime if you will. Throughout the eras, peridot has been continuously mistaken for emeralds and topaz. There’s gossip that even Cleopatra’s prized emerald collection could have, in fact, been peridot! This isn’t uncommon to learn about gemological history- after all, there’s also a famous shrine, The Shrine of the Three Kings, inside the Cologne Cathedral in Germany that is encrusted with 200 carats of peridot that were believed to have also been emeralds. 

Origin Story:

The main sources for peridot are China, Pakistan, Tanzania, Vietnam, the United States, and Myanmar. The oldest known recorded location for peridot discovery was in Topazios, the Egyptian island once known as Zabargad, in 340-279 BCE. There are 4 main exotic locations where peridot was deposited via meteorites that you can visit today: Big Island Hawaii, Guam, Norway, and the Galapagos Islands.

Mythological History:

Peridot has been used as a protective talisman for centuries and has been a valuable stone in medieval and ancient cultures. It is said that peridot can shield the owner from evil spirits and night terrors. Priests were known to have been adorned with peridots, and so were their churches and chalices.


Spinel is the ultimate imposter as it comes in so many colors. This gemstone has been repeatedly mistaken for some of history’s most famous rubies. Spinel comes in an array of colors: vibrant pink, orange, blue, violet, intense red, purple, and bluish green.

Origin Story:

Some of the main sources for spinel are Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Vietnam. Myanmar’s gem offerings are so striking they call their findings “spirit polished” due to their intense luster. 

Mythological History:

Red gems in general were automatically associated with blood, life, emotion, heart- etc. Since spinel comes in an intense red, this stone was thought to remedy blood loss, and inflammatory diseases, balance emotions, such as anger, and promote harmony.


Sardonyx is a stone of the ancient world that is made up of two different stones: sard and onyx. Sard and onyx are both forms of chalcedony. This stone has striping of brownish red, brown, or dark orange layered with white or black onyx layers. Ancients loved this stone as it was easily carved and resisted wax easily, so they opted to use it often for signet rings. Signet rings were wearable wax sealing stamps representing your crest or identity or station. You will also find sardonyx in many cameos and intaglios.

Origin Story:

Sardonyx can be found in Madagascar, the United States, Brazil, India, Czechoslovakia, and Germany.

Mythological History:

Sardonyx is mentioned in the bible verse Revelation 21:20 and is listed as the fifth type of gemstone that adorned the 12 foundations of the walls of the holy city of Jerusalem as it came down from heaven. You can see its popularity and admiration based on the importance it shows in this verse. Roman soldiers would wear rings with sardonyx carvings of Mars as they thought it would protect them in battle. The mythological idea of sardonyx today is to promote courage, stability, and communication.

Photo Credit: Gary Yost via

About Us

Homegrown in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, Mackley Jewelers has been East Tennessee’s hometown jeweler in Knoxville, TN for 41 years. Treating customers with respect, providing ethical service, and selling beautiful jewelry with natural stones is the foundation of Mackley Jewelers’ philosophy. We also offer a full range of professional Knoxville jewelry repair services performed by our talented jeweler right here, in-house. Every day, our goal is to be the best family-owned Knoxville jewelry store we can be all while giving our customers an authentic small business buying experience with genuine Southern charm.

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