Is the peridot connected with falling stars? But how? The peridot is as green as grass and sometimes a bit yellowish (like when the grass doesn’t get enough water) and you can imagine that this gemstone is a special gem of the Netherlands, since the grass is very green here. With the green color of this gem, you also can think that it is found in fertile soil or humid surroundings.
And maybe you think that since the peridot is very rare and special and the only gemstone that occurs in just one color, it is the star among the gemstone family. Uhmmmm, it’s more complicated than that. Actually, this green gem is the national gemstone of Egypt (not exactly a ‘green’ country). It is found in black lava stones or other volcanic stones.
This gem is not rare. You find mines all over the world, like in South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya, but also in the United States, China, Australia, Pakistan, Myanmar, and even Norway. The American Gem Society estimates that about 80%-95% of all the peridots are mined in the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona (USA)
But the peridot has something to do with outer space. Let me tell you how this extraordinary gemstone is connected with falling stars.
Falling from the stars?
Every year around the 12th or 13th of August the Earth crosses the orbit of a comet. In that orbit, you can find a lot of dust and small stone particles. When the earth crosses that orbit quite a few dust and stone particles get into our atmosphere. And when the dust or stones are big enough you can see a fast light flash, a so-called ‘falling star’ and you can make a wish!
If the stone is really really big, it falls on the earth and then we call it a meteorite. Scientists find all kinds of crystals in a meteorite. In 1749 a meteorite landed in Siberia/Russia and in this meteorite, they found a lot of gemstone particles in it, but the peridot was the only one large enough to set them in a piece of jewelry.
Gem of the sun
The Egyptians call the peridot ‘gem of the sun’ and it is their national gemstone. It’s a bit funny when you think about its typical green color and the Egyptian landscape, consisting of a lot of deserts and a small piece of green and fertile land near the Nile.
They call it the ‘gem of the sun’ because it is always connected with light and the sun. And they believe that wearing this green gemstone beaded on donkey hair protects you from the ‘terrors of the night’.
Peridot or emerald?
In Ancient Egypt, the best peridots are found (already before the beginning of our time) on the island of Topazios in the Red Sea ( now called St John’s Island or Zabargad). According to a legend on the island lived a lot of snakes and people does not want to mine there.
A brave Pharoah drove the snakes into the sea (probably he did not do that himself, but ordered his staff to do it). From the beginning, people confused the green stunning gemstone found on this island with the topaz. And the island was even called after this gemstone.
Pharaoh Cleopatra was fond of this gem, which she thought was emerald (both were green), and she had a whole collection of pieces of jewelry made with emeralds, and even her palaces were decorated with this green stone.
But that famous ’emerald’ collection turned out to be a ‘peridot’ collection.
Examples of the best and largest ‘mine’ can be seen in the Smithsonian Museum/USA. Of course, these do not come from outer space or meteorites, but volcanic activity pushed the crystals onto the Earth’s surface.
That same mistake is made in Germany. People there believed that the green stones at the famous large gold adorned and with more than 1000 gemstones set in the golden shrine of the Three Holy Kings in the Cathedral of Saint Peter and May in Cologne were emeralds.
That mistake lasted for several centuries. But in fact, they are peridots and some of them weigh more than 200 carats. Even the Church can make a mistake.
The most valuable piece
Peridot is not a cheap gemstone. For a one-carat copy, you pay at least between $400 and $450 and prices are rising. The largest ones are more expensive, of course.
The most expensive and the largest peridot is mined in Egypt, in Zebirget, and weighs 311,8 carats or 62,35 grams.
How to keep an emerald and peridot apart?
First of all the colors of the two gemstones are different. An emerald is medium to dark green, and the peridots are light green.
The peridot is compared with the emerald inexpensive and the hardness is less. That means that you can scratch the peridot much easier than an emerald, which has a hardness of 9 (on the scale of Moh).
01. The word ‘Peridot’ is a French word and one way or another that French word comes from the Arabic word ‘faridat’, which means ‘gemstone’. Unbelievable that nobody could find a more creative name for this beauty.
02. The gemstone peridot is the only gemstone that occurs in only one color, green. Alright, it occurs in a few shades of green, varying from pale yellow-green to deep olive green. That green color is caused by the iron in the gemstone.
03. With diamond is the peridot the only gemstone that is formed in the Earth’s mantle. The other gemstones are formed in the Earth’s crust.
04. This green beauty has been associated with light, probably this association comes from the Ancient Romans, who called this gemstone also the ‘evening emerald’. We think that they called it the evening emerald because this gemstone does not darken at night. Day or night this gem stays light green.
05. The goddess of the volcano is Pele, and she has a very bad temper that is as explosive as lava. People think that the green gemstones, formed in the Earth’s mantle, are the tears of Pele. And those tears (so the gemstone) have powers to heal illness and bring wealth and growth.
06. The peridot has given many features that benefit people. It is thought that this green gem wards off evil ghosts and helps in having a good marriage or relationship. It is supposed to encourage positivity and keep jealousy away.
07. This green gemstone is a form of the mineral olivine, a very common mineral, definitely not rare at all. But the gemstone quality of the mineral olivine, called peridot, is much rarer. If you have a stone of more than 4 carats, which is rare, you have to pay a lot of money for it. If that stone is more than 10 carats you have the jackpot.
How to take care of this stunning green gemstone?
Although this green gem is as hard as ‘normal’ quartz (about 6.5 to 7 on the scale of Moh), you can still damage your precious peridot with household dust, which has the same hardness as quartz. Besides that, there are some risks that you can brake your peridot, especially if they are set in a ring or bracelet.
If you want to buy a peridot ring look for one that has a protective setting so that the stone cannot be scratched easily. The risk of breaking is very much less if you wear this gemstone in earrings or a necklace.
Don’t stress this gem and you can clean it with a soft brush or cloth, warm water, and a very mild detergent. Even better, if you ask a professional to do the cleaning job for you.
Peridots have a sensitivity to acids, even the mild acids found in perspiration. So don’t wear your peridot pieces of jewelry too long and direct on your skin. But there is no problem at all when there is any material, like a T-shirt or dress, between the gem and your skin.
Is this your gemstone?
When you love green and you want something really really special, the peridot is your stone. That counts too for every woman born in August since it is the birthstone of August. And for the women who celebrate their 16th anniversary. Writing this… I have to let my husband know this since we have only another year to go…
Peridot is rare and therefore expensive. When you love the color there is another solution and that is using colored crystals. You can have a look at the necklace and bracelet I made of American turquoise and crystals in the color of peridot. They shine so beautifully and ‘enlighten’ the whole piece of jewelry.
If you love gemstones and jewelry, and you want to know more about your birthstone or the peridot? You are the lucky one. FlorenceJewelshop published an e-book full of stories and fun facts about birthstones. Great present for you or your friend. And the great thing is that this e-book about birthstones is free of charge. Just let me know to whom I can send it.
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