Learn About Peridot
The ancient Egyptians mined peridot on the Red Sea island of Zabargad, the source for many large fine peridots in the world’s museums. The Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun.” Today this gem is still prized for its restful yellowish green hues and long history. Large strongly-colored, examples can be spectacular, and attractive smaller gems are available for jewelry at all price points.
Peridot Birthstones & Anniversaries
Peridot is the birthstone for August and the 15th anniversary gemstone.
Overview of Peridot
Though peridot is widely recognized for its brilliant lime green glow, the origin of this gemstone’s name is unclear. Most scholars agree that the word “peridot” is derived from the Arabic faridat, which means “gem;” however, some believe it’s rooted in the Greek word peridona, meaning “giving plenty.” Perhaps that’s why peridot was, according to lore, associated with prosperity and good fortune.
Peridot is the rare gem-quality variety of the common mineral olivine, which forms deep inside the Earth’s mantle and is brought to the surface by volcanoes. In Hawaii, peridot once symbolized the tears of Pele, the volcano goddess of fire who controls the flow of lava. Rarely, peridot is also found inside meteorites.
Peridot’s signature green color comes from the composition of the mineral itself—rather than from trace impurities, as with many gemstones. That’s why this is one of few gemstones that only comes in one color, though shades may vary from yellowish-green to olive to brownish-green, depending on how much iron is present.
Though it is known as “the Evening Emerald” because of its sparkling green hue, peridot looks good any time of day.
Most of the world’s peridot supply comes from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Other sources are China, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Africa.
Peridot only measures 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. So, while the raw crystal is prone to cracking during cutting, the finished gemstones are robust and easy to wear.
History of Peridot
Peridot jewelry dates back as far as the second millennium BC. These ancient Egyptian gemstones came from deposits on a small volcanic island in the Red Sea called Topazios, now known as St. John’s Island or Zabargad.
Ancient Egyptians called peridot the “gem of the sun,” believing it protected its wearer from terrors of the night. Some historians believe that Cleopatra’s famed emerald collection may have actually been peridot.
Through medieval times, people continued to confuse these two green gemstones. The 200-carat gemstones adorning one of the shrines in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral were long believed to be emeralds as well, yet they are also peridots.
This gemstone saw a revival in the 1990s, when new deposits were discovered in Pakistan. These deposits produced some of the finest peridots ever found. In fact, some of these “Kashmir peridots” measured more than 100 carats.
The most productive peridot deposit in the world is located on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona. An estimated 80 to 95 percent of the world’s peridot supply is found here.
Thanks to these rich gemstone deposits, the modern demand for peridots can now be easily met, giving people born in August affordable options for wearing this beautiful green birthstone.
Frequently asked questions about Peridot
Learn more about colorful gemstones, their symbolism, which stone represents your birthstone, which stone to celebrate an Anniversary with and more ways to incorporate colorful gems in to your jewelry box.
Visit us in any Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry location to browse a more robust assortment of peridot earrings, peridot necklaces, peridot bracelets, David Yurman peridot jewelry and many more. Shop more jewelry trends at any Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry store near you. In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry store is located inside the Mall of Louisiana and there is also a Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry store located at the corner of Corporate Boulevard and Jefferson Highway near mid-city. In Lafayette, Louisiana, a Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry store is located on Ambassador Caffery. In Shreveport, Louisiana, a Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry store is located on Youree Drive at East 70th. Just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana, in Metairie, a Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry store is located on Causeway Boulevard at Lakeside Shopping Center. In San Antonio, Texas there are two Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry stores. Find one at The Shops at La Cantera and another located inside the Northstar Mall on San Pedro Avenue. In Jackson, Mississippi, visit a Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry store located at the Renaissance at Colony Park on Highland Colony Parkway. Visit the newest Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry store, located in ABQ Uptown of Albuquerque, New Mexico.