The enchanting verdant tones of the peridot have long been recognized as the eighth month’s birthstone. But little do people know that the alluring green gem shares its limelight with a darker, more mysterious counterpart–the sardonyx.
A form of onyx from the mineral family of chalcedony, sardonyx differs in appearance from its more famous jet-black cousin. Since ancient times, sardonyx has enchanted with its reddish brown coloring caressed with delicate white bands. The smooth face of the gem has made it a popular choice for cameo jewelry. In fact, Greeks and Romans were so taken with it, that they used sardonyx as talismans. Warriors carved the raised, cameo style emblems of godly heroes like Mars and Hercules in the stones, believing these tokens would protect them, and give them an advantage in battle.