Peridot is a light green gemstone that emits an alluring glow of vibrant color. The gemstone is considered the modern birthstone for the month of August and its popularity is increasing in the United States. Peridot is also known as a variety of olivine that has gemstone qualities. It is the only gemstone that has been found in meteorites and thus, is still associated with “other-worldly” properties.
Although the peridot is becoming widely used in jewelry designs today, this gemstone reached the pinnacle of its popularity thousands of years ago. This beautiful gem has a fascinating history that spans time and distance. Historians are not sure whether the term peridot comes from the Arabic word “faridat” or whether it is derived from the French word “peritot”. They do know that the French were the first to call this gemstone “peridot” in the 18th century. Some have theorized that this gemstone’s name is derived from the Greek word “peridona” which means to “give richness”.
Many cultures often confused peridot with emeralds. History tells us that emeralds were Cleopatra’s favorite gemstone, but historians know believe that the ancients were actually referring to peridot. The ancient Romans were also enamored with this gemstone; they even began calling it “emerald of the evening” because of its ability to remain the same hue of green under artificial light. Native Hawaiians referred to peridot as the tears of the goddess Pele. On the beaches of the island of Oahu, tiny pebbles of peridot are sprinkled throughout the sand. The medieval churches in Europe were often decorated with peridot, which historians theorize was brought to Europe by the Crusaders. The influence of this alluring gemstone can be seen throughout history across a wide variety of cultures; but its presence mysteriously diminished after the European Baroque period. That is, until today.
Peridot is one of a few gemstones that only come in one color. The rich color is caused by traces of iron. The intensity of the green in a peridot depends on how much iron is present. Its hue ranges in color from light yellow-green to bright green to a rich olive color. Although peridot is a relatively soft gemstone that ranks a 6.5 to a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, it is an easy stone to look after and is durable enough for every day wear. One of the qualities that make peridot stand out from other gemstones is where it is found on the Earth. Most gemstone are formed in the Earth’s crust, peridot are formed in the Earth’s mantle. The most beautiful, high-quality peridot are typically mined in Myanmar or Egypt. However, a new deposit of peridot was discovered in Pakistan in 1994 and some of the finest stones have been unearthed there. One such stone weighed more than 300 carats.
The majority of the peridot in the marketplace is mined in Arizona where a lesser quality of the gemstone is found. Peridot that are mined in Myanmar, Pakistan or Egypt sell for a much higher price. Peridot is the national gem of Egypt. They referred to the peridot as the “gemstone of the sun”. The ancient Egyptians began mining the gemstones about 3500 years ago on St. Johns Island. This once-powerful civilization had a monopoly on the mines up to the 19th century. St. John’s Island became a mystery among gemstone dealers because its exact location was lost for several centuries until it was rediscovered in 1905. It was in that century that the mines on the island, then called Zabargad, produced millions of dollars worth of peridot. However, after the 1930’s production slowly came to a halt and ended when the mines were nationalized in 1958.
For thousands of years, the peridot has captivated the attention of a myriad of powerful civilizations. There are a number of tales of the mysterious properties that many cultures believe the peridot possesses. It is said to be a healing stone that acts as a “tonic” to regenerate and strengthen the body. Crystal healers believe that the peridot is beneficial to diseases of the liver and difficulties with digestion. Historically, it has been used to physical detoxification and helps with problems with the stomach, kidneys, bladder and gall bladder. This stone has often been attributed with having a “tonic” affect and is believed to be beneficial to the skin while strengthening your metabolism.
Not to be outdone by other gemstones, the peridot has also been attributed with also having positive effect on one’s mental and emotional state. Peridot is said to help ease a hurt ego by easing feelings of jealousy and anger. It also cleanses and helps activate the heart, which can in turn help stimulate openness and acceptance when dealing with love and relationships. Peridot is said to be a great stone for people who suffer from low self-esteem or depression. It helps you deal with these feelings while enhancing your confidence and assertion without aggression. Many cultures associated success and wealth both personally and financially with this fascinating gemstone. Even today, the color green is often associated with money. Although this gemstone has been associated with various powers across cultures such as the Egyptians, Aztecs and the Incas, they all believed it could stimulate one’s energy level both physiologically and psychologically. Many cultures also agree that a peridot must be set in gold to exert its full potential.
Although much of the peridot that is unearthed typically weighs around five carats at its heaviest, there are some specimens that are quite remarkable in carat weight. Two of the world’s finest displays of peridot are held at the Field Museum in Chicago and the American Museum of National History in New York City. The Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C has a peridot stone that weighs an astonishing 310 carats. Today, these alluring gemstones adds a radiant burst of color to fine jewelry. The sexy green hue of the peridot that is typically found in today’s marketplace has become widely sought after. It is appealing to many not only for its extraordinary beauty but also for its beneficial metaphysical properties. The precious peridot is a gorgeous yet affordable gemstone that has the power to add a hint of sultry color and touch of alluring mystery to your signature look.