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Peridot Properties Facts and Photos

piece of olivine a translucent green coloured mineral

1. What is Peridot?
2. History of Peridot
3. Peridot Meaning and Properties
4. Article Pictures
5. Shop for Peridot

What is Peridot?

Peridot is the gemstone variety of the mineral olivine.  Olivine which is one of the most common minerals on Earth has been found in meteorites, on the moon and on Mars.

Olivine is one of the few minerals to occur in just one colour.  The depth and shade can vary from yellowish green to brownish green depending on the amount of iron present.

The finest grade olivine contains more magnesium than iron.

According to the modern birthstone chart peridot is the birthstone for August.  On the traditional chart it serves as an alternative to sapphire. It's also associated with the zodiac sign of libra.  

Although often pronounced per-i-dot, we believe the correct pronunciation to be per-i-dough.

Despite olivine being such an abundant mineral, gem-grade peridot is quite rare.

The History of Peridot

One of the earliest references to peridot was by the Ancient Roman author and philosopher Pliny the Elder.  In his encyclopaedia Naturalis Historia he talks of a stone presented to Berenice, Theban queen of Lower Egypt around 300 B.C.

Peridot is also mentioned in the bible.  The book of Exodus states it was the second stone in the first row of the high priest breastplate.  This religious garment was worn by Aaron the first Jewish high priest.

In ancient texts peridot is believed to have been known as topazos.  Historically this has caused no end of confusion with the mineral topaz.

Most of the early peridot was mined on the island of Topazos.  Today this island in the Red Sea is known as St John's Island or Zabargad in Arabic.  Small amounts of peridot can still be found there.

Stones from this location have excellent colour as well as sharp, lustrous and well defined crystal faces.

In later years large gem-grade peridot was found in Myanmar formerly Burma.  These mines became well known for their twenty and forty carat stones which exhibited incredible colour and clarity.    

Ancient Egyptian rulers called peridot 'the gem of the sun' because of its intense brightness.  They believed it could not be mined during daylight because the brightness rendered it invisible.

In the dark peridot was believed to give off its own light.  The location could then be marked so miners could return by day to collect stones.

peridot gemstones on display in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Peridot Meaning and Properties

A particularly unusual characteristic about the mineral olivine is that it's highly susceptible to chemical weathering.  For this reason it cannot survive for long at the surface in wet climates. This is likely to be the reason why there are so few localities where it can be found.  Stones tend to be restricted to areas with arid or semi-arid climates.

A significant quantity of fine grade peridot from the Suppatt region of Pakistan appeared on the market in 1992.  The deposit is located 15,000 feet up in the Kashmir region of the Himalayan Mountains.  This inhospitable and rugged terrain is prone to landslides and heavy winter snow.

Peridot from this area can only be mined from late June to early September.

Some of the finest grade peridot from Pakistan ever to have been discovered was mined around the year 2000.  The size of these stones was described as being "quite magnificent".  Once cut, some weighed over 2000 carats.

Peridot Mesa on the San Carlos Apache Indian reservation in the United States is currently the most productive mining area in the world for peridot.  It's estimated eighty to ninety five per cent of the world's peridot comes from here.

Peridot can also be found in Australia, Brazil, China, Egypt, Norway and other parts of the USA.

Peridot grades 6.5 to 7 on Mohs scale of mineral hardness.  Although quite a hard stone it's also brittle.

When used for its healing properties peridot is beneficial for strengthening and regenerating the body.  It emits a warm energy and provides a shield of protection around the wearer.

Peridot helps heal a bruised ego by lessening feelings of anger or jealousy.  It increases patience, confidence and assertiveness and from a mental perspective slows down the ageing process.  It protects the aura and is a powerful cleanser of the mind and body. 

Peridot can be used to release guilt, burdens or obsessions and will slowly encourage you to detach yourself from outside influences.  The stone helps you to understand your destiny and to move forwards which makes it particularly useful for healers.

Article Pictures

The mineral olivine in the picture at the top of our article is courtesy of Stan Celestian.  The peridot stones in the second picture are on display in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C.  Both photos are clickable and redirect to the original non-compressed image.

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