In terms of green gems, often Peridot is snubbed by its more posh rival the Emerald. However, let’s not be so quick to discard this pretty little stone, which is the perfect green hue for many of the gorgeous diaphanous floral dresses of the season.
Here are some interesting facts about Peridot:
- Its green color is dependent on the iron contents within the structure of the gem. Peridot occurs in silica-deficient rocks such a volcanic basalt as well as in pallasitic meteorites; yes meteorites!!
- Peridot is one of only two gems observed to be formed not in the Earth’s crust, but in molten rock of the upper mantle. Gem-quality Peridot is rare to find on Earth’s surface due to its susceptibility to weathering during transportation from deep within the mantle to the surface. So when you wear a Peridot it could well be a little piece of another planet, and well, for sure it is not your earthly Emerald!
- Peridot is the national gem of Egypt. Ancient Egyptians regarded it as “the gem of the sun.”
- Peridot is the birthstone for the month of August. It is also the stone given to celebrate the 16th year of marriage.
- If your friends still think Emerald is all that, tell them the following: One famous large Peridot gem adorning the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in the cathedral at Cologne was for centuries, believed to be an emerald, and only late in the last century identified as Peridot.
- A few jewellery historians are now convinced that some, or possibly all of the Emeralds Cleopatra was famous for wearing, were not actually Emeralds, but Egyptian Peridots. This emerald-looking shade of green is almost never encountered in Peridots under ten carats. To find stones of such color, one must look in Egypt and Burma, where production has reached a virtual standstill in recent years.
So before you turn green with envy over Emeralds, make sure it’s the right shade of green, because Peridots might after all be out of this world and that is something to brag about!
How to Find out More About Peridot:
The GIA encyclopedia is an excellent resource if you want to do a deep dive on a gemstone. For more indepth information on the fascinating story behind August’s birthstone, visit The Jewellery Editor’s 2016 article.
Our partner, Bentley & Skinner, has several antique and contemporary Peridot pieces on their website that can be available through our revolutionary shared ownership model, like this inimitable early Victorian Peridot and gold parure in the Knight pattern. To learn more go to the Bentley & Skinner website.