Choosing a beautiful piece of peridot jewelry is just as easy as pronouncing the gem’s name; “pear-a-dot” or “pear-a-doe.” Either way is correct. Typically, peridot ranges in color from yellowish-green to pure green to brownish-green. Across this broad spectrum of shades, the yellowish-green hue is the most common and is what is usually used in creating peridot jewelry. This olivine mineral contains iron and magnesium, which give peridot its color.
This gem is commonly found in volcanic rock, known as basalt, but it has also been found in meteorites that have fallen to earth. These meteorites, known as pallasites, are composed of crystals of olivine surrounded by nickel-iron and are exceedingly rare.
History of Peridot
The name peridot itself comes from the Arabic term “faridat,” meaning “gem.” Dating all the way back to ancient Egypt, peridot was associated with light and protection, and was even referred to it as “gem of the sun.” Some even believed that peridot protected their owners from “terrors of the night,” while others wore them on their left arm to protect themselves from the evil spirits. The Romans called peridots “evening emeralds” because of the way they caught and reflected lamplight.
In Hawaiian culture, it was also believed to represent prosperity and good fortune. The gem was believed to spring from the tears of Pele, the volcanic goddess of fire who controls the flow of lava on the islands.
Because peridot’s color can be somewhat similar to topaz or emerald, it can often be confused with these other gems. In fact, the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral is set with over 200 carats of gems. For centuries, people believed them to be emeralds, but they are actually peridots.
Using Peridot in Jewelry
When compared to many other gemstones, peridot is relatively soft, measuring only 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. While this is still hard enough to be used to craft jewelry, it is best to be left for special occasions only, not everyday wear.
Peridot is typically evaluated using the same criteria as most other gemstones: color, clarity, cut and carat. With peridots, color is the most important quality. The most valuable peridots feature a rich lime green color without any trace of brown or yellow. In high-quality peridots, you can often see dual reflections of each face.
The Green Goddess is one of the best-known peridots in the world. This flawless 154-carat stone is currently on display at the Chicago Field Museum and was originally purchased from the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.
A nearly 312-carat gem from Zabargad Island, Egypt is the largest on record. It can be seen in the Smithsonian Institution’s collection at the National Museum of Natural History.
The Esquel Pallasite is a slice of peridot found in a meteorite in Argentina in 1951. It is on display at London’s Natural History Museum.
Custom Peridot Jewelry
Whether you’re shopping for an August birthday or a 16th wedding anniversary, Worthington Jewelers can help you find the perfect peridot gift. We have a wide range of rings, necklaces, bracelets and more for you to choose from. We can also design custom pieces for you. Visit our shop today to get the design process started so that you can have the perfect piece for your loved one.