5 Fascinating Facts to Love About the Fabulous Peridot Gemstone

August 28, 2020

A Ladie's 18kt Yellow Gold Pendant with mutli gemstones.

By Chelsea Reed

With its rich lime green hues and beautiful clarity, peridot is the perfect gemstone that captures the brilliance of late summer. This semi-precious jewel has been a favorite among jewelry collectors for thousands of years. It’s the stone for August birthdays and 16th wedding anniversaries, yet is suitable for everyday elegance. Do you know these fun facts about peridot? Let’s take a look! 

Fact #1: There’s Only One Color of Peridot

Green is the only color ever found in a peridot, though there are slight variations. The green comes from iron deposits embedded into the stone as it cools. Hues range from dark to yellowish with the classic rich green being the most desirable in the market. Peridot is the same mineral as the common olivine stone. Most olivine is not gem quality though, so peridot is a remarkable beauty

Fact #2: Peridot Gems Come from Volcanoes

14kt Yellow Gold Pendant with diamond, white sapphire, garnet and peridotThey form in the same way as diamonds! Both kinds of gemstones are made with intense pressure in pockets of magma deep in the earth’s mantle. Most other gems form in the Earth’s crust. While diamonds are usually mined from ancient kimberlite pipes, peridot is found in both kimberlite pipes and other more recent volcanic eruptions. It’s a native gemstone in Hawaii. 

Fact #3: Sometimes they’re from Meteorites too!

Peridot is also one of the few gemstones from space! Trace deposits of peridots have been found inside ancient meteorites that survived the Earth’s atmosphere. Extraterrestrial peridot is extremely rare because it would have to stay intact through rigorous space travel. The Mohs hardness scale for peridot is relatively soft at 6.5 to 7. 

Fact #4: Ancient Egypt had a Secret Island of Peridot Gems

Believe it or not, the Egyptians mined peridot gemstones for thousands of years on a volcanic island in the Red Sea called Zabargad. It was sworn in secrecy until the Romans discovered it after they conquered the ancient empire. The “treasure island” was rediscovered in 1906. Peridot is the national gem of Egypt today. It’s called “the gem of the sun” by local Egyptians. 

Fact #5: It’s Mistaken for Emerald

Sometimes peridots were mistaken for the rarer emerald, especially in the Middle Ages. The magnificent emeralds set in the Shrine of the Three Kings are actually peridots! The Shrine is inside the Cologne Cathedral in Germany. It is said that the golden Shrine contains the bones of the wise men from the biblical nativity story. Pilgrims near and far flocked to the Shrine in medieval times.

The Sunny Gem that Makes Anyone Smile

Seaside Art Gallery’s estate jewelry selection includes beautiful peridot specimens. Their sunny lemon-lime colors are sure to make friends and family smile. Now you can share these fun facts the next time you give someone peridot jewelry! Estate jewelry at Seaside Art Gallery is available in store and online.

Chelsea Reed is a copywriter who writes online content, articles, blogs, and websites from her base in North Carolina

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