Peridot is a well-known and ancient gemstone, with jewelry pieces dating all the way back to the Pharaohs in Egypt. The gem variety of the mineral Olivine, it makes a lovely light green to olive-green gemstone. The intensity of color depends on the amount of iron present in a Peridot's chemical structure; the more iron it contains the deeper green it will be. The most desirable color of Peridot is deep olive-green with a slight yellowish tint. Deeper olive-green tones tend to be more valuable than lighter colored greens and yellowish-greens.
The history of Peridot is intrinsically tied to the tiny Egyptian island of St. John (Zabargad) in the Red Sea, which was the one of the only ancient sources of gem Peridot. This deposit has been totally exhausted, though fairly significant deposits have since been discovered, especially since the 1990's.
Findings of large transparent Peridot from Burma (Myanmar), China, Afghanistan, and especially Pakistan have provided a new quality of Peridot unlike anything else previously discovered, with large, nearly flawless
crystals that are well-suited for gemstones. The new discoveries are responsible for a reawakened interest in this gemstone. However, the most significant producer of gem Peridot remains the San Carlos Reservation of Arizona.
Although many Peridot gemstones, especially older ones, have cloudy or milky inclusion
s, the more recent gemstones on the market have few flaw
s and can be of exceptional quality. Though pretty and popular, Peridot is not a very durable gemstone. It has a lower hardness than many gemstones and is more prone to scratches, and has a tendency to occasionally burst under great stress. Peridot also cannot stand intense heat or rapid temperature changes. Peridot can also chip if banged hard, and should never be steam cleaned or cleaned with ultrasonics.
Much gem Peridot comes from igneous environment
s. These gems are formed deep within the mantle
of the earth, and are brought the the surface by volcanic
activity. Peridot is also found in certain types of meteorite
s, though these forms of Peridot are too rare and usually too small to be used as gemstones.
Peridot is both a day stone and a night stone, keeping its shining color
even under artificial lighting. For this reason, it is sometimes called "Evening Emerald". Although Peridot can be pronounced both with and without the "t" at the end, most professionals in the gem trade pronounce the "t".
Peridot gems are usually small, though large flawless
occasionally cut. Peridot is a popular and affordable gemstone and is
faceted into many cuts, and used in all forms of jewelry, especially
rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Tumbled Peridot beads and
s are also fashioned in bracelets and necklaces.
Peridot is the birthstone
Although the mineral Olivine
is fairly common, the gem form of Peridot is more limited. Egypt was the ancient source of Peridot, but now the main sources are in Pakistan, Burma, Afghanistan, China, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and the United States (Arizona). Hawaii on occasion produces some Peridot large enough to be cut into gemstones, but most "Hawaiin Peridot" is not authentic from Hawaii.
The color of Peridot can be similar to Tourmaline
, and Green Amethyst
. The color of Emerald
is usually a deeper green tone.