Gem of the Sun
Peridot, with its associations in ancient lore, has a history of over 3500 years. This grass-green gem derives its name from the Arabic “faridat” or “gem”.
Regarded by ancient Egyptians as far back as 1300 BCE to be the “gem of the Sun”, it was worn as a talisman to protect the wearer from nightmares, particularly when set in gold. Also associated with compassion, the peridot is said to calm anger. Composed of the mineral olivine, it forms deep within the earth under extreme conditions and is churned up by volcanos that deposit it in magma from where it is mined. Peridots are the only wearable gemstone that can fall to the Earth as meteorites; these are rare and unlikely to be found at retailers.
Mined in centuries past from volcanic deposits in Zabargad in Egypt, and in Hawaii, large and beautiful peridots are now found along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. They are also found in Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Africa, Australia, and the US.
Cheerful, light, and summery in all its green glory, the peridot is a soothing stone to behold and is one of only a few gemstones that occur in one colour alone.
Peridots are uniquely green stones ranging from green-yellow to yellow-green and brownish-green. and with yellow and brown overtones. Available in grassy shades of green, the intensity of its colour depends on the amount of iron in its crystal structure. The more vivid the colour saturation, the higher the quality of the peridot. Clear, grass-green peridots, free of brown tints, are the most superior in quality. These gems are available in sizes from melee to faceted beauties of 10+ carats.
This gorgeously green gem lends itself to many styles of cutting, including round, ovals, pears, and marquise shapes and emerald, cushion, and triangle cuts.
Interesting nuggets about Peridots
Peridots have historically been mistaken for other green gems such as emeralds and topaz. Speculation has it that the emeralds in Cleopatra’s famous jewellery were, in fact, peridots.
The 200 carats of gems embellishing the Shrine of the Three Holy Kings in the Cologne Cathedral, Germany, once believed to be emeralds, are now confirmed as peridots. The largest cut peridot is a 311.8-carat Zabargad gem that sits in the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.
Peridots are August’s birthstone and hold special significance for 16th wedding anniversaries. Measuring 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, peridots are fairly resilient gems.
Be charmed by our selection of peridot-set jewellery at thejewelleryroom.com here.