Once called the topazion, named after the Serpent Isle, or the Island of Topazos, the stone was renamed as peridot in the 18th century, as to not confuse it with the topaz stone. Most believe the name peridot comes from the word faridat which translates from Arabic to mean gem. Others believe it comes from peritot, which from French translates to mean unclear. While sometimes confused with an emerald, the two stones are quite different and come from different locations in the world.


With its bright and inviting colour, the peridot brings with it happiness and good cheer. It inspires creativity and is the birthstone for those born in August when the greens of spring start turning into the fall hues of yellows and browns.


The Allure of the Peridot


This semi-precious lime-green stone often has a gold tinge to it. It is made of the mineral olivine, a magnesium iron silicate. Like the diamond, the peridot is developed in the Earth's crust, with volcanic activity and earthquakes bringing it up to the Earth's subsurface and surface with other volcanic rock. However, it can weather quickly weather once it reaches the surface.


Peridot stone was first found and harvested in Egypt and Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, and China. In more recent years it has been found and mined in Mexico, New Mexico, Arizona, and Hawaii. Many stones mined in the New World are from one to four carats. Heavier stones, larger than four carats, are rarer and, of course, more expensive and treasured. Those larger pieces are found in the mines of Egypt, Pakistan, and China.


Some of the largest peridots ever found came from that Island of Topazos, known now as Zabargad Island, the largest of a group of islands in the Red Sea off of the coast of Egypt. The uninhabited island is no longer mined and is protected as part of Elba National Park.


The largest known intact peridot stone was found in Egypt is a whopping 310 carats, and is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. A 146-carat peridot stone is located in a collection at the Natural History Museum in London.


Peridot through the Ages Ancient


Egyptians thought the peridot gem would bring good fortune and would protect against evil and disease. Today's spiritual advisors agree that the peridot has positive power and healing energy. History tells us that some believed the gem would protect one from "terrors of the night," especially when it was mounted in gold. Today, it is said to aid in maintaining good health, and restful sleep.


It is also believed the peridot will balance emotions and bring peace to relationships. As it is a stone made through transformation, it is further said to helping in breaking the need for tobacco use, and other addictions.


Some much rarer peridot crystals have come to Earth embedded in meteorites found to have formed 4.5 billion years ago. Crystals were found in comet dust brought back on the Stardust space probe in 2006. They were also found on the moon, and located on Mars by the NASA Global Surveyor. Needless to say, these alien crystals are not available on the open market.


Not to be Confused with Emeralds


The similarity of peridot stones to emeralds is that they are both green. That similarity pretty much ends there. When you look carefully, an emerald has a much deeper green colouration. Peridot, which contains iron, is lighter and has varying golden properties the intensity of which is dependent upon those levels of iron. The average iron level in peridot gemstones is 12-15 per cent. Higher levels diminish stone quality.


Emeralds are a member of the beryl family and are mined in different areas of the world including Zambia and Columbia. Emeralds are harder in constitution than peridot.  Historians now believe what once was thought the favourite gem of Cleopatra, of which she had many, were really peridot. Mined in Egypt then and now, contributes to the proof of that belief.


Similarly, it was also believed the gems of the Three Holy Kings in Germany's Cologne Cathedral shrine, completed around 1225, were emeralds. They are, indeed, peridot, perhaps brought home to Europe by pirates and Christian crusaders. The Vatican is said to have a collection of peridot, as does the Tower of London.


Peridot has a history in the Hawaiian Islands, as well. Hawaiian lore reveals peridot to be a gift to Hawaiians from Pele, the volcanic goddess of fire, and are said to be made of her tears, hardened through volcanic activity.


What Makes For A Quality Peridot Stone


Because peridots are softer than many other gems, they are more delicate and more difficult to cut. To avoid cracking or breakage, cutters follow the natural shape of each gem and fittings are often designed around the stone for broaches and pendants. That being said, peridots are available in almost any regular cut including oval, round, square, and the more multi-faceted marquise shape.


Because of their nature, peridots look fashionable with more contemporary, modern settings, as well as more traditional and vintage ones. Smaller peridot crystals are often matched up and utilized as a series of stones for necklaces, bangle bracelets, earrings, and more. They pair up nicely with other stones, as well.


High-quality peridot stones have more colour intensity. While grass-green is considered by many as the most desirable colouration, no one colour is necessarily better than another, although the evenly distributed colour is considered best. Larger stones, probably due to density, tend to have better colour.


Peridots vary in clarification with better quality stones having no visible dark spot inclusions to the naked eye, although some may be visible with magnification. Visual dark spots do lessen the value of a stone. Lily pad-shaped inclusions may be found in peridot stones. But unless you are a collector, remember the best choice in any stone is if you like it. The choice is up to individual interpretation. Sometimes a stone with a minor flaw proves out to be more endearing than a more perfect one. 


Jacobs the Jewellers' Peridot Collection


You don't have to be born in August to wear and enjoy peridot stones. Whether you simply enjoy the light green colour or hope to capture some positive attributes associated with the stone, peridot jewellery offers a clean, uplifting look that is affordable. And, it makes a perfect gift for a friend or loved one.


Peridot looks lovely mounted in yellow or white gold depending upon the colouration in the stones. A peridot pear or teardrop makes a simple, clean, lovely pendant. In the Jacobs the Jewellers collection, available is a peridot pear cut teardrop suspended from a four-claw setting in 18-carat yellow gold. You may hang it from your own gold chain, or shop through the store's collection.


Jacobs the Jewellers also has peridot stud earrings available in yellow or white gold four-claw settings. Whether oval or quatrefoil in shape, these earrings make for a great day or exquisite evening wear as they dazzle in sunlight and moonlight for outdoor parties or other events. Being earthy itself, peridot should be paired with earth-tone clothing, and especially worn during the summer and fall seasons.


Proper Care of Your Peridot


While peridot is great for everyday wear, some people caution wearing it directly in contact with the skin. This can depend upon the individual and acidity of their skin, but with regular care, the stones should be fine. While not extremely soft, peridot can be susceptible to scratching and care should be given in wearing stones in a ring or bracelet.


Taking care of the peridot is simple. Depending on how much it is worn, occasional washing with warm water and a mild soap is all that is needed. Avoid harsh washing powder and chemicals. Put on peridot jewellery after putting on makeup and doing your hair, like blow dryers, hairsprays and perfume can be harmful to the stone and should be avoided. Saltwater is also harsh to peridot, so do not wear when going boating or on a visit to the beach. When not being worn, keep your peridot jewellery in a cool place and keep away from any heat sources.


Whether you have an interest in peridot, other gems, or any quality jewellery pay a visit to Jacobs the Jewellers in Reading. Through their nationally-recognized jewellery store, Jacobs offers the finest quality of peridot and other gems set in men's and ladies' jewellery. When in need of a new watch, visit their top line of watches.


Jacobs the Jewellers has been serving the Reading area for more than 70 years. They offer speciality custom designs and will rework older jewellery pieces with you. Look to Jacobs for the repair of your jewellery and watches. Need an evaluation of your jewellery collection? They can help with that too, whether in-store or they will pay you a visit to appraise your property. Contact or visit Jacobs for all of your jewellery needs.




Peridot Meaning and Uses, Crystal Vaults

Peridot Value, Price, and Jewelry Information, International Gem Society

Peridot vs. Emerald, Avnish Gempundit

Red Sea Peridot, Pala International