What is Peridot?

So what is Peridot? This article will explain all you will ever need know about this beautiful gemstone and help you choose your jewellery wisely.

peridotPeridot is a stunningly beautiful, yet surprisingly affordable gemstone. They range in colour from yellowish green to vivid lime green and are a popular choice in use for jewellery. Although not as popular as it once was, Peridot is making a come back. More and more people are once more beginning to appreciate the true beauty of Peridot, especially as it looks fantastic in all types of lighting but especially in evening light.

What makes this wonderful gemstone unique and how should you care for your Peridot gemstones?

Peridot – The Facts

Oval peridotPeridot is a variety of the mineral group Olivine, named such because of its colour. Peridot is made up of Magnesium and also of Iron. It is the element Iron that gives the stone its yellow green colour. Traces of Nickel and Chromium found in some Peridot gemstones give them an even richer green colour. Peridot often forms in Balsalt rocks and are formed in the hottest parts of the earth’s mantle layer.

Did you know?

  • Peridot is the birthstone of August
  • The Ancient Romans once referred to the gemstone as the ‘evening emerald’
  • Cleopatra’s favourite gemstone was Peridot
  • Peridot was once used for warding off evil spirits
  • The Chemical Composition of Peridot is (MgFe)2SiO4
  • Peridot is the gemstone used in celebration of 15th Wedding Anniversaries
  • Traces of Peridot have been discovered in comet dust brought back to Earth by a space probe
  • Peridot have been found in meteorites that have fallen from space but this is incredibly rare.
  • GIA states that ‘The word peridot comes from the Arabic “faridat,” which means “gem.”’
  • Peridot are known as a self-coloured gem and are only available in the colour green
  • Some Ancient Peridot gemstones are thought to be 4.5billion years old

Peridot in History

Emerald PeridotFolklore has always surrounded the Peridot, and this gemstone has long believed to have been magical and was thought to possess supernatural powers. It was believed that this magnificent gemstone would improve the wearer’s eloquence and would help remove any jealous thoughts.

The earliest records of Peridot being mined is of the Ancient Egyptians mining the green gemstone on the infamous, barren island of Topazios (Today known as St John’s Island). Working conditions were horrendous and the workers were essentially slaves who almost starved to death.

Down through history Peridot has been mistaken for other gemstones such as Topaz and Emerald. In fact, the 200 carat gemstones on the Shrine of the Three Holy Kings in a Cathedral in Germany were long thought to be Emeralds when they are actually Peridots.

Peridot gemstones are found in the USA. They are also found in:

  • Egypt
  • Tanzania
  • Pakistan
  • Myanmar
  • Vietnam and
  • China

What to Look for in a Peridot

The quality of Peridot is judged on how it conforms to the 4 C’s in much the same way as the other gemstones.

  1. Colour – The very best quality of Peridot is a vivid grass green colour, although the majority of Peridot has the typical yellowish green hue. Peridot with a brownish hue is not very popular as the colour is not very desirable.
  2. Clarity –. The clarity of most Peridot is generally good and you should not be able to see inclusions with the naked eye. You may be able to see tiny black spots when the gemstone is examined under magnification.
  3. Cut – Due to the abundance of good quality Peridot available in many sizes, this gemstone can be found in an abundance of different cuts including cushions, pears, rounds and ovals. Peridot is usually finished with a mixed cut combining brilliant cuts with step cuts.
  4. Carat – Peridot can be found in large crystals so gemstones of a high carat are not unusual. As with most gemstones, the price per carat increases as the size of the gemstone increases.

How to Care for and Clean Your Peridot

Peridot gemstones should be cared for very gently as they are not one of the most durable gemstones available. Peridots can be easily scratched or damaged so care should be taken when wearing them. This gemstone can also be damaged by chemicals or extreme changes in temperature. Make sure you take your Peridot ring off before you wash your dishes in hot water. Peridot gemstones must not be cleaned with steam or ultrasonic cleaners.

The best way to care for your Peridot is by cleaning it gently with a soft toothbrush, with warm, soapy water. Gentle washing up liquid is one of the best detergents to use when cleaning your Peridot.


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