August’s birthstone is the Peridot. Did you know peridot (from the Arabic word “faridat” which means “gem”) is a member of the olivine mineral group—so named because of its unusual olive green color? Interestingly, peridot is not as light dependent as blue and red gemstones, meaning that it stays the same color in all lighting conditions—a rare occurrence in colored gems. Ancient Romans referred to peridot as the “evening emerald“ because its bright green color was still visible at night. The Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun” and it has been theorized that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection was actually mostly comprised of peridots. In fact, throughout much of recorded history peridots have often been mistaken for emeralds.
PERIDOT: MEANING & ANCIENT LORE
- Peridot has been found in pallasite meteorites which are most likely between 4-5 billion years old (dating back to the origins of our solar system). In 2005, peridot was found in comet dust brought back from the Stardust robotic space probe.
- Peridot exhibits extremely high double refraction, i.e., when you look closely through the gemstone, you will see two of each pavilion facet.
- Peridot is the traditional gift for a 15th wedding anniversary.
- The fabulous 200-ct. gemstones adorning the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral are peridots although they had been commonly assumed to be emeralds.
- Peridot is thought to increase prosperity, growth and openness as well as strengthen life.
Questions about peridots? Text us at 408-446-2900 or use our Contact Form.
BUYER’S GUIDE: PERIDOT
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: COLOR & CLARITY
A richly saturated grass green is the most prized hue of peridot; however, this is usually only found in gems of 10-carats or larger. Smaller peridots are more of a yellowish-green or greenish-yellow color. Brown undertones are less desirable as they lower the peridot’s value. Inclusion-free peridots are practically nonexistent. The best peridots exhibit what is commonly referred to as “eye clean clarity“ where tiny black spots—minute crystals—are visible only under magnification. Other inclusions common in peridots are reflective, disk-shaped inclusions called “lily pads” (so named because they resemble lily pads found in nature).
CARE & CLEANING OF YOUR PERIDOT JEWELRY
Peridot is rated a 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This makes peridot more susceptible to damage than rubies, sapphires and diamonds. Make sure that your peridot isn’t exposed to any sudden large temperature swings. Excessive heat can fade its color. Remember to bring your fine jewelry in at least twice a year for stone/setting checking and professional cleaning — not only is it a great excuse for us to see you and say hello, it will also keep your cherished pieces in tip-top shape! Peridot jewelry may be safely cleaned at home with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Click here for our step-by-step guide to cleaning jewelry at home.
Source: GIA (Gemological Institute of America)