Gem of the Month: Peridot

Havent had time to keep up with our planned Gem of the Week articles so shifting to a monthly format. As such, the obvious choice for August is its birthstone, peridot.

Gemmology matters: Peridot is the gemstone variety of the Olivine (Mg,Fe)2SiO4 mineral group and is a transparent lime or olive green. The green color is due to the presence of iron within the mineral. Peridot is found in Australia, Brazil, China, Eygpt, Myanmar, Norway, and USA – major commercial deposits are found in Arizona (USA) and Pakistan. Peridot is interesting for its ability to “glow like a coal” at night. This “glow” let prospectors spot deposits in the dark and mark them for digging the next day. Peridot has a hardness of 6.5.

Mthology and Lore: Peridot was thought to help dreams become a reality, and was often given as a symbol of fame, dignity, and protection. Peridot is said to help ward off anxiety and ensure success in relationships and marriage. Peridot is the anniversary gift for the 16th year of marriage. Legend has it that pirates favored peridot to protect them against evil. When the peridot was set in gold it also protected the wearer from terrors in the night.

Peridot was very popular with the ancient Greeks and Romans who coveted its brilliant green sparkle. This gem has been found in Egyptian jewellery from the early second millennium BC. Cleopatra reportedly had a fine collection of peridot. During their 600-year reign, the Ottoman Sultans gathered the largest known collection of peridot gems.

Alternatives in Green: While peridot is characterised by a hint of yellow within the green, there are a number of alternative gemstones in green. Emerald is the most well known of the green gems and in fact, peridot has been mistaken for emerald in the past – the nickname “Evening Emerald” for peridot has added to this confusion. Emerald is usually a much deeper green, is often quite included and much more expensive. Tourmaline is another gem with excellent varieties of green – the indicolite variety of tourmaline tends to a blue-green hue and the more common green tourmaline often has an olive tone. The other standout alternative is tsavorite (green garnet) which can be a neon green colour.

Links of interest:
ICGA Gem by Gem – article on Peridot
Bernadine Fine Art Jewelry – articles on Peridot as a birthstone and Peridot mythology

Peridot is an affordable gemstone with an attractive colour that lifts the spirits – well suited as the August gemstone when thoughts are turning to Spring. Aussie Sapphire does not currently have any peridot rough or faceted gemstones in stock but we have a very small selection of jewellery featuring this beautiful gemstone.
See photo at left for a sterling silver bracelet with 4 large (8.5 x 6.5 mm) oval gems – Amethyst, Peridot, Garnet and Citrine. This one is brand new so not yet priced and catalogued – please enquire directly for more information if required.

Hope you enjoyed this article and stay tuned for the next one on Sapphire – the gemstone for September. Cheers for now from Aussie Sapphire


4 Responses to Gem of the Month: Peridot

  1. […] birthstone for August (photograph at left from Thaigem).  The modern birthstone is peridot (covered in a previous article) but sardonyx has an ancient history and is a fascinating […]

  2. […] birthstone for August (photograph at left from Thaigem).  The modern birthstone is peridot (covered in a previous article) but sardonyx has an ancient history and is a fascinating […]

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