Peridot - August Gemstone of Glittering Green

by : Sarah Stephens

Peridot is a semi-precious gemstone frequently incorporated into some of the most modern, beautiful handmade jewelry in the world. It is most often found in shades of translucent greens or yellows, and is widely recognized as the August Birthstone as well as the gemstone for the 3rd and 16th anniversaries. But beyond its modern-day uses and associations, peridot holds a decadent mythological, spiritual and etymological history that adds nostalgic value to its already strong aesthetic worth. Read on for more information that will help you fall in love with your peridot jewelry - or inspire you to buy some today!

Peridot is one of the oldest, most popular gemstones, found set into ancient Egyptian jewelry as early as early as circa second millennium B.C. This particular Peridot was found by the ancient Egyptians, off the island of what was called Topazios or Zebirget (know named St. Johns), located in the Red Sea, about 50 miles off the Egyptian coast. Legends say that this island was covered in snakes, making it impossible to mine, until a pharaoh drove them into the sea. The name Peridot is said to be derived from the Arabic word, faridat, meaning gem.

In ancient times, Peridots were used as currency and accessories for the pharaohs. Egyptians coined this stone as the "gem of the sun." The ancient Romans coveted its springy yellowish-green tones, calling it the "Evening Emerald." Peridot was used in many medieval churches as beautiful decoration, found in the Cologne Cathedral, as well as throughout Europe.

Peridot gemstones look best as parts of formal evening jewelry when paired with diamonds, black onyx or dark blue sapphire. More casual combinations include softer contrasts of brilliant green peridot with clear quartz, citrine or ruby. To see a selection of handmade artisan jewelry featuring peridot, click here. Peridot is typically considered a sophisticated gemstone that works well with any outfit. In earrings, it works especially well to enhance the luster of green or hazel eyes.

Peridots were believed to glow in the dark like lanterns, so they were only mined during nighttime. They are said to prevent fear and sadness, break the power of evil spells, gain foresight into the future, and give divine inspiration and wealth to the wearer, as well as bring energies from the aura into the physical body.

In the mid 1990's, a discovery of large, intense Peridots was made in the Pakistani Mountains. They were later called "Cashmere Quality," reminiscent of cashmere Sapphires. Peridot is also mined in the United States, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Brazil, just to name a few.

Mohs' Hardness score is based on a 10 point scale where 10 is the most resistant, like a diamond, and 1 is easily scratched, such as Talc. Peridot gets a score of 6.5-7, meaning that it is somewhat scratch resistant and therefore suitable as a component of jewelry. Peridot gemstones should be regularly cleaned by a professional or with a soft rag and mild soap and water. Other methods, including ultra-sonic cleaners, solvents and harsh chemicals should be avoided when cleaning your handcrafted jewelry as exposure to these elements can damage semi-precious and precious gemstones and pearls.

Learn more about all semi-precious gemstones, including amethyst, apatite, black onyx, blue topaz, carnelian, chalcedony, citrine, coral, garnet, white topaz, crystal, diamond, emerald, iolite, jade, Labradorite, moonstone, pearl, peridot, prehnite, rose quarz, ruby, sapphire, smokey topaz, tanzanite, tourmaline and tourquoise when you check out this gemstone chart.