AUGUST interestingly has three birthstones – none of them very fashionable now – they are the peridot, sardonyx and spinel. This gemstone comes in several colour variations ranging from yellowish green to brown, but most consumers are attracted to the bright lime greens and olive greens. Second birthstone is sardonyx, a form of onyx - recognised by its layers of reddish-brown and white banding. It was popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans who carried into battle talismans of sardonyx engraved with images of heroes such as Mars or Hercules, believing that this would bring courage and victory. Spinel is often mistaken for gemstones as it tends to resemble either a ruby or sapphire. Vivid red is the most popular colour of spinel gemstones, followed by cobalt blue, bright pink and bright orange. The more affordable stones are often those with paler colours, like lavender and is also found in black, violet blue, greenish blue, greyish, pale pink, mauve, yellow or brown.