You may be vaguely aware of gemstones and birthstones but I wanted to share some information about the gemstone Peridot since it is the birthstone for August. I have family members whose birthstone is peridot and over the years I have often heard them mention how they wish they had a different birthstone, as peridot seems a bit boring. I hope that reading this blog post will help to change their minds, and perhaps yours, since I think it has a pretty fascinating past making it much more interesting than they may have realised. So whether it is your birthstone or someone close to you, hopefully this post will be of interest and show a bit more of the meaning behind peridot.
What is Peridot?
Peridot is a gem quality stone from the rock-forming mineral Olivine.
What does it look like?
Some birthstones have several colours, for example, Topaz, the birthstone for November, is available in different colours such as blue and the more traditional yellow. Peridot is one of the few gemstones which has only one colour and is usually a pale lime green or olivine colour but there is a deeper green and much more rare peridot. Rather than having hues of several other colours it is more of a pure, transparent coloured stone. The iron content of each stone determines the depth of colour with a higher iron content producing a more yellow or lighter green and a lower iron content producing the deeper green colour. This is much more rare and is therefore higher in value than the more common lighter peridot.
What are the benefits associated with peridot?
Peridot is known as a stone of compassion and has many connections to spirituality. Peridot is a stone well documented throughout history and it has been written that the properties of peridot that help ward off fearsome night-time visions are more powerful when set in gold. It is said to be a balancing stone that can help provide peace in a relationship by balancing the mind and calming anger. It also has properties that protect the wearer from negative emotions such as jealousy, spite, greed, hate, and resentment and is even said to help strengthen the immune system and also promote a sense of happiness.
Peridot is also given as a 16th wedding anniversary gift, giving it a sense of romance
Which Swarovski® crystals are similar in appearance to Peridot? Swarovski® make a colour of crystal called ‘Peridot’ which is extremely similar in colour to the real gemstone. Although not available in every type and size of crystal Swarovski® make, it is largely available in popular sizes and shapes, such as the ever popular xillion bicone crystal.
Where is Peridot found?
The more common, lighter peridot is found in several locations around the world, such as Vietnam, Brazil, USA, South Africa and also a large amount from China. The deeper and more rare peridot stones have more commonly been found in Pakistan and Myanmar. Housed in the famous Smithsonian museums in the USA is the biggest cut peridot known to date at a whopping 311 carats. The gem was discovered in Egypt and the links between are discussed below.
A bit about peridot and its history
Peridot is different to nearly all other gemstones, as it is formed much deeper inside the earth since the temperature it needs to crystallise is much higher. Peridot is formed as deep as 55 miles below the earths surface and is brought to the surface through volcanic activity. This might go some way to explain why, in Hawaii, peridot symbolises the tears of Pele, the goddess of volcanoes. One of only a few in the world, there is a green sand beach near the southern tip of Hawaii called Papakolea Beach, the sand green due to the high content of olivine mineral in the grains of sand.
It has been documented that peridot has been discovered within the rocks of meteorites. This "extra terrestrial” peridot is very rare however and is not a type that likely to be included in retail jewellery.
Peridot has often been referred to as the poor man’s emerald due to the rarity and expense of emeralds. However, hopefully it has been shown here that peridot is far from an inexpensive alternative to emerald, or any other gem for that matter, and that it has a rich and interesting background making it a treasure in it’s own right. In fact, it has been said that many of the so-called emeralds displayed in European churches are in fact peridot, with the most notable being the shrine of the three kings, or the three magi, in Cologne Cathedral. It has also been suggested by historians that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection was made up of, you guessed it, peridot! So obviously she recognised the beauty in this gemstone. The ancient Egyptians referred to peridot as the gem of the sun, perhaps as those stones higher in iron tend to show a more yellow hue than the rare deeper green variety. This link to the sun makes peridot a perfect gemstone to represent the birthstone for the month of August, made official in 1912 by the American National Association of Jewelers and by The National Association for Goldsmiths in the UK in 1937.
The fact that peridot can be dated as far back as ancient Egypt and remains a popular gemstone in the jewellery and retail industry today demonstrates it’s staying power and popularity.