Peridot is a very ancient gemstone, and one which has become very popular again today. The vivid green of Peridot, with just a slight hint of yellow, is the ideal gemstone color to go with that light summer wardrobe. No wonder – since the Peridot is the gemstone of the month of August.
It is so ancient that it can be found in Egyptian jewelry from the early 2nd millennium B.C. The stones used at that time came from a deposit on a small volcanic island in the Red Sea, some 45 miles off the Egyptian coast at Aswan.
Peridot’s subtle and scintillating green tones range from pale yellowish green to ‘grass green’ to a pleasant ‘olive green’. The Romans called Peridot the ‘Evening Emerald’, since the green appears to be more intense in reduced light. Peridot was originally mined off the coast of Egypt. The most beautiful stones come from the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as Myanmar.
Peridot is one of the few gemstones which come in one color only. The rich, green color with the slight tinge of yellow is caused by very fine traces of iron. From a chemical point of view, Peridot is an iron magnesium silicate. The intensity of the color depends on the amount of iron actually present. The color itself can vary over all shades of yellowish green and olive, and even to a brownish green. Peridot is not particularly hard – only 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale – but it is easy to look after and fairly durable. Peridot cat’s eyes and star Peridot are particularly rare and precious.
Peridot sources include, China, the USA, Africa and Australia. Peridot from Arizona, where it is popularly used in native American jewelry, often has somewhat yellowish or gold-brown nuances. Most Peridot formed deep in the earth and was brought to the surface by volcanoes.
Peridot is the birthstone for August.
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