August is one of only three birth months that are represented by three gemstones. We’ve written about one of the three August birthstone’s, Peridot, the gem of the sun (you can find more information here). Today we’ll explore sardonyx, which was the original August birthstone until peridot was added. The third August gemstone is spinel, but we’ll delve into that one at another time.
Sardonyx has alternating layers of parallel bands of sard and onyx. Sard and onyx are two types of the mineral calcedony. Sard ranges in color from yellowish-red to reddish-brown while onyx is black or white with the white banding being most common in sardonyx.
Sardonyx is perfect for carving into cameos or brooches to show the color contrast of the layers. Ancient Greeks and Romans wore sardonyx carved with images of gods and heroes. Sardonyx was also used for Roman seals and signet rings used to imprint wax on official documents since hot wax doesn’t stick to it. Sardonyx is a symbol of strength, happiness and courage.
Sardonyx is relatively common and inexpensive making it a wonderful gemstone to add to any collection. Stop by Bridgewaters to get more familiar with this beautiful stone.