What is Peridot?
Peridot is a well-known and ancient gemstone, with jewellery pieces dating all the way back to the Pharaohs in Egypt. The gem variety of the mineral Olivine, it makes a lovely light green to olive-green gemstone. The intensity of colour depends on the amount of iron present in a Peridot's chemical structure; the more iron it contains the deeper green it will be. The most desirable colour of Peridot is deep olive-green with a slight yellowish tint. Deeper olive-green tones tend to be more valuable than lighter coloured greens and yellowish-greens.
Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral olivine. Its chemical composition includes iron and magnesium, and iron is the cause of its attractive yellowish green colours. The gem often occurs in volcanic rocks called basalts, which are rich in these two elements.
The glorious yellow-green Peridot has been under-appreciated for years, overlooked as a lesser gem, small, easily obtained and relatively inexpensive, often considered as simply the birthstone for August. Its popularity has fallen in and out of vogue for centuries. However, a new resurgence is bringing to light what Peridot lovers have always known: this is a truly remarkable stone.
Called “the extreme gem” by the Gemological Institute of America, Peridot is born of fire and brought to light, one of only two gems (Diamond is the other) formed not in the Earth’s crust, but in molten rock of the upper mantle and brought to the surface by the tremendous forces of earthquakes and volcanoes. While these Peridots are born of Earth, other crystals of Peridot have extraterrestrial origins, found in rare pallasite meteorites (only 61 known to date) formed some 4.5 billion years ago, remnants of our solar system’s birth. Peridot in its basic form, Olivine, was also found in comet dust brought back from the Stardust robotic space probe in 2006, has been discovered on the moon, and detected by instrument on Mars by NASA’s Global Surveyor. Ancients believed, quite accurately, that Peridot was ejected to Earth by a sun’s explosion and carries its healing power.
History and Introduction
Peridot is a gem-quality variety of the mineral olivine. It belongs to the forsterite-fayalite mineral series. Some even refer to peridot as 'olivine', but when it comes to the gemstone, 'peridot' is the correct term. Peridot is an idiochromatic gem, meaning its colour comes from the basic chemical composition of the mineral itself and not from minor traces of impurities. Thus, peridot is found only in green. In fact, peridot is one of the few gemstones available that can be found only in one color, although the shades of green may vary from light yellowish to dark brownish-green.
The name 'peridot' was derived from the Arabic word for gem 'faridat'. It is sometimes referred to as 'the poor man's emerald' or as 'chrysolite', a word derived from the Greek word 'goldstone'. It is one of the oldest known gemstones, with records dating back as early as 1500 B.C. Historically, the volcanic island of Zabargad (St. John) in the Red Sea, east of Egypt, had the most important deposit that was exploited for over 3500 years. Today, the finest quality peridot comes from Mogok in Burma, although Pakistani peridot is now highly regarded as well. There are other very important deposits found in Arizona, China and Vietnam. Peridot has also been discovered in fallen meteors and it has also been discovered on Mars and the moon in olivine form.
Occurrence of Peridot
Olivine, of which peridot is a type, is a common mineral in mafic and ultramafic rocks, and it is often found in lavas and in peridotite xenoliths of the mantle, which lavas carry to the surface; but gem quality peridot only occurs in a fraction of these settings. Peridots can be also found in meteorites.
Olivine in general is a very abundant mineral, but gem quality peridot is rather rare. This is due to the mineral's chemical instability on the Earth's surface. Olivine is usually found as small grains, and tends to exist in a heavily weathered state, unsuitable for decorative use. Large crystals of forsterite, the variety most often used to cut peridot gems, are rare; as a result olivine is considered to be precious.
Peridot crystals have been collected from some pallasite meteorites.
Chemically, peridot is an iron magnesium silicate and its intensity of colour depends on the amount of iron it contains. There may also be traces of nickel and chromium present. Peridot is not especially hard and it has no resistance to acid. On very rare occasions, peridot is known to form with cat's eye chatoyancy (asterism) in the form of four ray stars. Peridot can be mistaken for similar coloured gems, but its strong double refraction is often a very distinguishing trait. In thicker stones, the doubling of lower facet edges can be easily seen by looking down though the table without the need for magnification.
Peridot: Origin and Sources
Most gemstones are formed in earth's crust, but peridot is formed much deeper in the mantle region. Peridot crystals form in magma from the upper mantle and are brought to the surface by tectonic or volcanic activity where they are found in extrusive igneous rocks. Historically the volcanic island Zabargad (St. John) in the Red Sea was the location of the most important deposit. It was exploited for 3500 years before it was abandoned for many centuries; later, it was rediscovered around 1900 and has been heavily exploited ever since.
Today, the most important deposits are found in Pakistan (in the Kashmir region and the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region). Beautiful material is also found in upper Myanmar (Burma) and Vietnam. Other deposits are found in Australia (Queensland), Brazil (Minas Gerais), China, Kenya, Mexico, Norway (north of Bergen), South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and the United States (Arizona and Hawaii). Recently, China has become of the the largest producers of peridot.
Peridot: Related or Similar Gemstones
Peridot is a transparent gem variety of olivine. Olivine is not officially a mineral but is composed of two end-member minerals: fayalite and forsterite. Fayalite is iron rich olivine, while forsterite is magnesium rich olivine. Although iron is the colouring agent for peridot, it is technically closer to forsterite than fayalite with regard to chemical composition.
Peridot is sometimes referred to as 'chrysolite', a historical name which archaically refers to several green to yellow-green coloured gemstones. Other forms of 'chrysolite' include chrysoberyl, zircon, tourmaline, topaz and apatite.
Peridot Metaphysical and Healing properties
Peridot is highly beneficial for attuning to and regulating the cycles of one’s life, such as physical cycles, mental or emotional phases, as well as intellectual progression. It also helps dissipate negative patterns and old vibrations that play over and over, keeping one from realising they are deserving of success. By working with Peridot one can remove those blockages and move forward quickly, opening the heart and mind more fully to receive from the Universe with grace and gratitude.
A stone of transformation, Peridot is excellent for use in recovery from tobacco or inhalant dependencies, as well as other addictions. More importantly, it is a wounded healer stone, serving as a vital guide in facilitating healing processes that help others going through what you have already overcome. It is considered very effective in amplifying Reiki energies. Hold immediately after treatments using heat or warmth, such as sweat lodges, hot rocks or a sauna to continue the beneficial effects.
Peridot is ideal for discharging emotional issues that affect the physical body. Place it over the Solar Plexus to relax and release nervous tension, known as “butterflies,” as well as to alleviate fear and guilt, anxiety or impatience. Place Peridot over the Heart Chakra to relieve heaviness of heart, empower forgiveness, or alleviate destructive jealousy or self-doubt caused by betrayal in past relationships.
Use Peridot to gain results when seeking items that are lost or mislaid in the physical world, as well as in the quest for an enlightened state.
Wear Peridot set in gold to bring peaceful sleep. It is especially effective for those who suffer from recurring nightmares about evil spirits, murders or sexual attacks.
Wear or carry Peridot as a talisman of luck and as a sun stone to prevent personal darkness. It adds charm and eloquence to your presentations, evokes a positive, helpful response from normally unhelpful people, and increases profit in trades. It is naturally protective against envy, gossip behind your back, and people who would deceive you.
Properties of Peridot
|Hardness||6.5 - 7|
|Refractive Index||2.63 - 2.65|
|SG||1.54 - 1.55|
|Cleavage||2,1 ; 3,1|