Peridot
  • Mineral: Olivine    

  • Main Source of Origin: Pakistan, China, Burma

  • Mohs Hardness: 6.5 - 7.0

  • Birthstone: August 

Peridot is a variety of Olivine and is named after the French word peritot, meaning gold, because the mineral can vary towards this color. Apart from its usual olive-green hue, peridot can also appear in a zesty green or a bright chartreuse.

 

Most gems are formed in the Earth’s crust except for peridot and diamond which are formed much deeper in the Earth, in the mantle. Peridot forms in magma in the upper mantle and is brought to the surface by tectonic or volcanic activity. Interestingly, the peridot has been dubbed a gemstone that has travelled the outer space as it has also been found in meteorites, Mars and the Moon!

 

Peridot is one of the oldest known gemstones with its arresting green hues often evoking images of greenery and forests. Ancient records from as early as 1500 B.C tells of the gem’s connection with Egypt, where some historians believed that the famous emeralds of Cleopatra were peridots. Ancient Romans called it ‘evening emerald’ since it has a high lustre brought about by its high refractive index that allows it to dazzle at night and be appreciated by the candlelight. It was first used as a talisman in the ancient world, believed to possess a longstanding mystical reputation. Believed to ward off anxiety and encourage successful relationships, peridot had been used as a protection and medical remedy. Holding a peridot under one’s tongue was supposed to lessen the thirst of a person suffering from fever.

Frequently confused with the topaz or emerald due to the similarity of their color, peridot did not enjoy much attention until recently. The source of peridot comes from a rich heritage having been mined on St John’s Island (in the Egyptian Red Sea) as far back as 3,500 years ago.

 

Other information:

  • Zodiac birthstone for Gemini, Leo, Virgo, Scorpio, Sagittarius

  • Stone for 16th anniversary