Happy birthday, August babies! This month's birthstone is ancient and mysterious peridot. The olivine gemstone has a long history; often mistaken for emeralds or topaz. Some historians even believe that Cleopatra's famed emeralds were actually peridots. Peridot only appears in a sage-green hue, and are relatively soft at 6.5 to 7 on the MOHS scale.
Unlike most gemstones, with the exception of diamonds, the majority of peridot forms deep in the earth- in the mantle. There are reported, and very rare, cases of peridot from fallen meteorites. Peridot is one of the world's oldest gemstones, with reports of it being mined all the way back in 1500 BC. Some lore has associated peridot with the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele; the gemstone is generally considered a symbol of strength.