Gemstone of the Month: Peridot, August, 2015
Characteristics: Peridot (pronounced pair-a-dot) is the birthstone for August, and the gem designated for the 16th wedding anniversary.
This transparent gemstone comes in several color variations ranging from light yellow-green to the bright green of spring grass to olive to brown, and is often used in jewelry.
Because of the way Peridot splits and bends the rays of light passing through it, it has a velvety appearance, a rich glow, and a slightly ‘oily’ luster. The purer green a Peridot is, the higher the value. Any tinges of brown or visible flaws greatly diminish the price.
Most consumers are attracted to the bright lime and olive greens.
Peridot forms deep inside the Earth and is brought to the surface by volcanoes. It is Magnesium/Iron Silicate, and is a variety of the mineral Chrysolite or Olivine. Its chemical formula is given by: (Mg,Fe)2SiO4. The best-colored Peridot has an iron percentage of less than 15% and includes nickel and chromium as trace elements.
The most unusual olive green gem called, Moldavite, comes from meteorites called pallasites. They are found in the Czech Republic and are believed to have arrived from space in a meteor about 14.8 million years ago. (These extraterrestrial gems are very beautiful and have been set into jewelry.) Because this stone contains crystals of Olivine and has a similar green color, it is often confused with Peridot.
Peridot has also been confused with Emeralds although Peridot, being a more yellow or olive color, is a completely different shade of green than an Emerald. Other green gemstones that may be confused with Peridot are Apatite and Green Garnets.
It is not clear whether the word Peridot comes from the Arabic word, faridat, which means gem, or if it is derived from the French word, peritot which means, unclear. The French were the first to call this yellow-green stone Peridot in the 18th century. Before then, Peridot was known as, Topaz.
Peridot has been mined as a gemstone for an estimated four thousand years and is mentioned in the Bible under the Hebrew name of, pitdah. It was used by the Egyptians as early as 1500 BC and was considered the gem of the sun. Early miners looked for Peridot at night because they believed that light from the moon made the crystals easier to find.
Gem quality Peridot comes from Zagbargad Island in the Red Sea, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Australia, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, China and Hawaii. Today, most of the Peridot supply comes from Arizona. In 1994 a new deposit of Peridot was discovered in Pakistan which produces some of the finest stones; one stone was more than 300 carats!
This glittering gemstone symbolizes success, good fortune and loyalty. It is said to host magical powers and healing properties to protect against nightmares and to bring the wearer power, influence, and a wonderful year.
Peridot is considered a tonic for the whole body and protects the wearer from negativity. It is associated with stress reduction and relaxation. Egyptians used Peridot to clean and heal the heart.
Historical legend says that Peridot was the favorite gemstone of Cleopatra, although at the time they were called, Emeralds!