Peridot was formed early in the solidification of the Earth. As the earth’s magma slowly cooled to form igneous rock, peridot was born. Parts of the magma which cooled particularly slowly created large and clear specimens of peridot. Peridot is not only born of fire here on earth, but it has also arrived at Earth from outer space. Although many different gems can be found in meteorites that have fallen to the earth, peridot is the only one that is found in large enough sized to make jewelry from.
Peridot is the national gem of Egypt. Ancient Egyptians knew it as “the gem of the sun.” The word peridot comes from the Arabic “faridat,” which means “gem.” Some historians believe that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection might have been peridot. People in medieval times continued to confuse peridot with emerald. For centuries, people believed the fabulous 200-ct. gems adorning the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral were emeralds. They are, in fact, peridots.
The history of Peridot is intrinsically tied to the tiny Egyptian island of St. John (Zabargad) in the Red Sea, which was one of the only ancient sources of gem peridot. This deposit has been totally exhausted, though fairly significant deposits have since been discovered, especially since the 1990s. Findings of large transparent Peridot from Burma (Myanmar), China, Afghanistan, and especially Pakistan have provided a new quality of Peridot unlike anything else previously discovered, with large, nearly flawless crystals that are well-suited for gemstones.
Peridots are transparent with a distinct oily luster. Peridot’s color can be described as yellow-green, green with a golden tone, olive or bottle green, deep chartreuse, or simply brilliant light green. The proportion of iron present causes the shade and depth of the green of a peridot stone; the deeper the green, the smaller the amount of iron present. Peridot is one of a few gems that are not routinely treated. While it is not particularly brilliant (peridots have moderate to high brilliance), the richness of its color can be exceptional and is completely natural. Because of its rarity, peridot is not usually seen in its deeper pure green colors however newly discovered sources may change this. New sources include Arizona, Mexico, Oregon, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, and Sri Lanka.
Peridot is both a day stone and a night stone, keeping its shining color even under artificial lighting. For this reason, it is sometimes called "Evening Emerald". Peridot has long been called “an Evening Emerald,” for, under artificial light, the stone glows a brilliant green. Peridot is similar to the emerald but softer in intensity.
Peridot symbolizes dignity, fame and prosperity, strength, and morality. Peridots have been used in jewelry through the ages to achieve peace and success and to attract love and good fortune.
Peridot is cut in a wide variety of styles, including ovals, emerald cuts, and cushions.
Peridot is the birthstone for August and the 16th Wedding Anniversary gem.