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August Birthstone: Peridot

by Kate McCoy |

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 symbolizes the tears of Pele, the volcano goddess of fire who controls the flow of lava. Peridot also can be found inside meteorites.  

Peridot’s signature green color comes from the composition of the mineral itself—rather than from trace impurities, as with many gems. That’s why this is one of few stones that only comes in one color, though shades may vary from yellowish-green to olive to brownish-green, depending how much iron is present.


Geology:

Some of the earliest records of this stone come from the Bible. One of the stones in the breastplate of the High Priest in Jerusalem, was a stone known as chrysolite, which is believed to have been this lovely green gemstone. 

Early records relating Peridot come from the Roman historian Pliny, who wrote about it in about 50 ad. He said that Peridot had already been mined in Egypt for thousands of years. The first discovered source of this gem was on the Egyptian island Zagbargad, where they have been mining this beautiful green gem since ancient times. 

Olivine is a common mineral in ultramafic and mafic rocks, found in Lavas and peridotite Xenoligth rocks of the mantle that lava carries to the surface. Peridot is a form of Olivine of volcanic origin. Although the olivine mineral is abundant, Peridot is rare. The gem is also mined in Egypt, Arkansas and Arizona on the San Carlos reservations. Other sources of the stone are Nevada, Hawaii, Nex Mexico, Australia, Kenya, China, Brazil, Myanmar, Pakistan, South Africa, Tanzania and Sri Lanka. Peridot crystals have been found in Pallasite meteorites as well.


Healing Powers:

Peridot gemstones have been in use for many thousands of years, and were historically called Olivine. Its believed to heal the lungs, spleen, intestines, lymph and breast of ailments. Amulets with Peridot stones are known to be an effective remedy for Asthma, Sinus, thyroid, eye and liver infections. These stones are known also to to alleviate depression, anger, stress, jealousy and other negative emotions.

 

Why We Love This Gemstone:

Extraterrestrial - Peridot crystals are found in meteorites – some rare extraterrestrial crystals are even big enough to facet as cut gemstones.

Iron Gem - Most gems are coloured by impurities such as iron. Peridot's colour is intrinsically yellow-green. Higher-quality stones have an intense colour.

Seeing Double - Peridot has extremely high double refraction – when you look closely through the gem, you can see two of each pavilion facet.

 

Quality Factors:

Beautiful, yellowish green peridot has been treasured since earliest times.