Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Birthstone of the Month ~ August ~ Peridot (Olivine)

This striking green stone is also called Chrysolite and in the mineralogy world it is known as a variety of stone from the mineral family Olivine. It is thought the name Peridot comes from the Arabic word faridat which means "gem".   This beauty only comes in various shades of green, pale yellowish green, olive green, bottle green or a vibrant apple green, which is the most sought after, any shades of brown decrease the value of the stone.  In Pakistan, near the Afghan border you will find large Kashmir peridot stones which are the best for cutting, possessing intense striking color, which of course makes them expensive.  Most of the worlds Peridot, 80 to 95%, come from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, being mined by the Native Americans…finer quality gems come from Myanmar (formaerly Burma) and Egypt.  Other locations where peridot can be found are Australia, Brazil, China, South Africa, Hawaii, New Mexico and Zaire. 

Peridot Crystals in a Volcanic Bomb from Kilbourne Hole, Dona Ana Country, New Mexico
80mm x 60mm 200 grams

I'm including the definitions of igneous and metamorphic rocks as I think it helps to understand what these words mean...
Metamorphic Rocks
"The American Heritage Science Dictionary: 1. relating to metamorphosis. 2. Geology: Relating to rocks that have undergone metamorphism. Metamorphic rocks are formed when igneous, sedimentary, or other metamorphic rocks undergo a physical change due to extreme heat and pressure. These changes often produce folded layers or banding in the rocks, and they can also cause pockets of precious minerals to form. The folds and banding can be produced by incomplete segregation of minerals during re-crystallization, or they can be inherited from pre-existing beds in sedimentary rocks or pre-existing layers in igneous rocks. The precious minerals can form as the result of re-crystallization when the rocks undergoing metamorphism are subjected to changes in pressure and temperature.

  Natural Peridot Crystal from Sapat, Pakistan
17 mm x 12 mm, .65 inches x .5 inches

“Igneous: "
1. Geology...produced under conditions involving intense heat, as rocks of volcanic origin, or rocks crystallized from molten magma. 2. of, pertaining to, or characteristics of fire.
Intrusive Igneous Rock: forms beneath the surface of the volcano

Extrusive Igneous Rock: forms on the surface volcano"
Peridot, formed in the earth’s mantle, 20 to 55 miles inside a volcano…they are found in extrusive igneous rock forms, as a result of magma reaching the surface of the volcano, either from eruption, or cracks, fissures or as lava or ash.  It can also form in metamorphic rocks.   In other words it is found in the rocks formed by volcanoes.  The striking green color of the peridot comes from chemical composition of the stone (iron) itself and not from some other sources such as impurities.   Peridot is transparent but often includes some form of inclusion, they appear as spots or lines, and are naturally occurring deposits of such things as silica glass, biotite mica, and small crystals of pyrope garnet and spinal.   While lovely, the peridot is not a brilliant stone, it may have the appearance of glass or even look greasy…the stone may have a cat's eye or star effect but this is extremely rare.  Treatments, such as oiling or polymer filler may be used to improve the look of the stone, by decreasing the visibility of flaws. Care must be taken with the peridot as it is tends to burst under pressure, it is sensitive to heat and is not resistant to acids...so keep away from household cleaners, steam, hair spray, etc.
Faceted Peridot Gemstone, 6 mm x 4 mm 1.5 carats 
Stones of Interest:
  • A 319ct peridot found on the island of Zabargad is now in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.
  • Cut stones from a meteorite that fell in 1749 in eastern Siberia are now in Russia.
  • 192.75 carat peridot stone belonging to the Czar is in the Diamond Registry in Moscow
Information of Interest:

  • Historians wonder if the gems worn by Cleopatra were actually peridot and not emeralds…
  • Some wear this stone as they believe it brings success, peace and good luck
  • It is the gift for the 16th wedding anniversary.
  • It is one of the few stones that comes in one color only
  • In ancient Egypt on an island called Zeberget mining for peridot was done at night as it was said the gemstone couldn’t be seen well during the day. 
  • I’ve seen the phonetic spelling as per-i-doe and per-i-dot…so not sure which is correct, I do think both are accepted.
  • Associated with light
  • Generally a transparent gem
  • Ancient records document peridot being mined back as far as 1500 B.C.
  • While it can be…this stone is generally not treated or enhanced
  • Relatively inexpensive in price
  • All be it rare, peridot have also been found in meteors  
  • Avoid ultrasonic cleaners, mild soap and water will clean this stone
  • Cracks easily so be gentle with it…
 Don’t forget…send any questions or comments to the following email address…


Information courtesy of:
Special thanks to Maryanne Fender of Fender Minerals for allowing the use of their gorgeous gemstones…the Volcanic Bomb was found in Kilbourne Hole, New Mexico.
·         Gemstones of the World,Walter Schumann, Third Edition, Sterling Publishing Co.
·         The Jeweler's Directory of Gemstones, Judith Crowe, Firefly Books, 2006
·         "igneous." dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 21 Aug. 2008. dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/igneous
·         "Metamorphic" The American Heritage® Science Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company.  21 Aug. 2008. dictionary.com   http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/metamorphic


  1. Thanks for the informative posts, love the color of Peridot.

  2. LOVE LOVE LOVE Olivine...use it alot in the CZ form when making earrings...I am a Capricorn...so I am a 'different gemstone'...for me it's all about the deep olive green...again, love love love...:))))

  3. One of my fav stones...especially its color. However, I do find it cracks or chips rather easily. Extra care needed when working with Peridot.
    Looking forward to your next post on gems :)

  4. This is all great information! Peridot is also thought to bring good luck and success to its wearer.


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