Considered one of the oldest known gemstones, with records about its existence dating to as far back as 1500 B.C., peridot continues to captivate buyers all over the world. This rare, gem-quality olivine is typically mined at volcanic sites, particularly in places throughout Egypt, Arizona, Arkansas, and San Carlos. The rarest samples, meanwhile, are extracted from Pallasite meteorites.

The Gem of the Sun

Believed to have been first mined at an island in the Egyptian Red Sea, now known as St. John’s Island, peridot held a special place in the culture of the ancient Egyptians who believed that the gem had the power to bring good fortune and protection against evil and disease. Today, the birthstone for August is still associated with luck, peace, and happiness. Learn more about peridot’s storied past and the qualities that make it such an in-demand gemstone when it comes to fine jewellery here in Reading.

The ‘Gem of the Sun’

The yellowish-green gemstone gives off a brilliant green glow when hit by light, which is why the ancient Egyptians and Romans associated it with luminescence and ascribed to it names such as “gem of the sun” and “evening emerald”. Scholars agree, however, that the origins of the word “peridot” remain unclear. Some say the name was coined from the French word peritot, which translates to “unclear”, in reference to the gemstone’s translucent glow and yellowish tinge. Others are of the opinion that the name derives from the Arabic word for gem, faridat.

Peridot in Mythology and World History

Egyptians mainly used peridot as a talisman to ward off evil spirits. Priests of the goddess Isis, who is closely associated with the healing arts, would infuse crushed peridot gems into warm beverages. Even Cleopatra herself was believed to have owned a collection of these colourful gems, which were wrongly identified as emeralds.

The Hawaiians, on the other hand, believe peridot to be the hardened tears of Pele, the volcanic goddess of fire. According to folklore, peridot is a gift of the goddess to the Hawaiian people. Peridot is also mentioned numerous times in the Bible under the name “chrysolite”. Meanwhile, historians believe that during the Crusades, many churches were decorated with peridot.

Whether you are intrigued by the gemstone’s healing qualities or find its innate beauty simply irresistible, you can count on esteemed jewellers in Reading such as Jacobs to craft peridot earrings, brooches, and other jewellery pieces of exquisite quality.


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Myths and legends about peridot, the August birthstone, Examiner

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