Is there anything more refreshing than the smell of freshly cut grass on a warm summer morning? If someone special in your life has an August birthday, give them the gift of peridot! This captivating, green stone will look stunning and remind them of the sights, sounds and smells of summer. What are you waiting for? Let’s learn more about this dazzling birthstone!
What is Peridot?
For many years, peridot was confused with other green gems, such as emeralds, so let’s set the record straight. Peridot is part of the olivine mineral family and most commonly seen as a yellowish-green gem. Its unique color is a result of iron, which is present in the gem’s chemical structure. You might also find peridot with hints of brown tones, but the ideal shade resembles green grass.
If you’re in the market for a top-notch piece of peridot, keep in mind that each stone is evaluated on its cut, color, clarity and carat weight – similar to the 4 C’s of a diamond! That means larger stones with deeper color and better clarity will be more valuable. But it’s pretty rare to find high-quality peridot gems that weigh more than 5 carats. You’ll more likely see pieces that weigh around 1 carat. Regardless of size, peridot looks amazing in plenty of shapes, including oval, emerald and cushion cuts.
History of Peridot
So, where does peridot come from? Crystals have actually been found in certain meteorites that have reached the Earth’s surface, some of which are billions of years old! But these meteorites typically don’t produce gem-quality peridot. Therefore, you probably don’t see this type of peridot in jewelry stores.
Most available peridot was likely formed beneath the Earth’s crust and brought to the surface by volcanoes. Miners typically discovered the crystals inside of rocks that were carried by streams of lava. Other volcanic rocks rich in iron and magnesium, like basalts, also contained peridots.
The first documented peridot was reportedly unearthed somewhere between 340 and 279 BCE on Zabargad Island in Egypt. Ancient Egyptians believed the gem was associated with light and kept the owner safe from nightly demons, especially when paired with gold. Peridot was also popular among other ancient and medieval cultures. For example, priests began wearing the stone during the second century BCE, and the gem even decorated chalices and churches in medieval Europe.
The jewelry industry saw renewed interest in peridot when additional deposits were uncovered in Pakistan during the 1990s. In fact, some of the finest stones have been found here. Today, peridot gems are mined in several other countries across the globe, including Tanzania, Vietnam, China and Myanmar. But the biggest gem supplier is the U.S., particularly the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona. These mines provide roughly 80-95% of all peridot in the world!
Fun Peridot Facts
● Peridot is the official stone for celebrating 16th wedding anniversaries!
● This gem is sometimes called the “Evening Emerald” due to its color and ability to shimmer under soft lighting.
● These stones score between 6.5 and 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale – a scale that ranks the durability of diamonds, gemstones and other minerals. That means peridot is softer than several other gems and can be easily scratched by more durable stones. Therefore, we recommend choosing peridot pieces that will endure less wear and tear, like earrings, necklaces and special occasion rings.
● Peridot is considered a double refractive gem. So, you’re likely to see two of each flat, polished surface in the bottom, V-shaped portion of the gem.
● Papakolea Beach in Hawaii is known as a green sand beach. That’s because tiny peridot crystals can be found along the shore, causing the sand to literally shimmer with a beautiful green hue!
● According to legend, some believed that peridot represented the tears of Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess.
● The Stardust robotic space probe, which lasted from 1999 to 2006, discovered comet dust containing traces of olivine (peridot’s mineral family) and brought it back to Earth.
● Egyptian queen Cleopatra was known for her impressive emerald collection, but some historians now think many of these pieces may have been peridot instead!
● Peridots were also confused for emeralds on the Shrine of the Three Kings, a triple sarcophagus that’s believed to hold remains of the Three Wise Men. This elaborate piece, located at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany, is adorned with gold sculptures and 200 carats of the green gems!
● The world’s largest peridot gemstone roughly weighs a whopping 310 carats! It hails from Zabargad Island but is now featured in a collection at the Smithsonian Institution.
Have a question? We can help!
Gage Diamonds is Chicago's premier jewelry showroom and online retailer of engagement rings, wedding bands, and fine jewelry. We offer a selection of dazzling peridot jewelry, including engagement rings.
We’re committed to helping you find the ring of your dreams. For inspiration, browse our website or set up an appointment with a member of our trusted staff at our in-person showroom.
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