Peridot - Not From This World
Peridot is the birthstone of August & designated gemstone of the 16th anniversary. This beautiful lime-green gemstone was one of the first gemstones to ever be mined & has held cultural importance in many places around the world for millennia! Formed deep within the Earth & brought about by volcanic explosions or landing on the Earth on meteorites billions of years old, this powerful yet underrated gem encompasses the power and mystery of Earth & the universe!
Peridot has been celebrated & prized since at least Ancient Egypt. Historically, peridot is believed to have been first mined on the island of Zabargad, also known as St. John’s Island, in Egypt’s Red Sea. Ancient Egyptians mined peridot from this island for years while keeping the fog-shrouded island a closely guarded secret. Peridot earned the nicknames “gem of the sun” and “evening emerald” because it was believed by Egyptian miners to radiate & reflect light in the darkness. Egypt was a primary source of peridot during these times, supplying Medieval Europe. At the time, peridot was often mistaken for topaz or emerald, and some suspect that Cleopatra’s famous prized emeralds may have actually been peridot! The mines of Zabargad have since been depleted, but peridot remains the national gem of Egypt.
Peridot also holds a lot of importance in Ancient Hawaiian culture, as the gemstones are thought to be the tears of Pele, the goddess of volcanoes & fire. Small pieces of peridot have been known to wash ashore on the Hawaiian islands and can be found mixed in with the sand, although the pieces are not large enough to be faceted or used in jewelry. Hawaiian folklore also mentions peridot raining down upon the islands, which is now determined to be caused by volcanic eruptions blasting green olivine crystals into the air, literally causing them to “rain down” on the island.
Peridot has also been used throughout history as:
- Talismans against evil spirits
- Decoration in the Cologne cathedral The Shrine of the Three Kings
- Believed to be one of the gemstones of Aaron’s breastplate in the Bible
- Popular gemstone choice for British royal jewelry
- Stone of metaphysical healing
Unlike many other gemstones, peridot does not come in different colors. Peridot only comes in shades of green, typically grass green or yellowish-green, depending on how much iron is present in the specimen. Peridot is made from the mineral olivine, which is found in sites of volcanic activity or more rarely in pallasite meteorites, some of which have been dated back to the creation of our solar system! Peridot from these meteorites has not only been found in impact craters on Earth, but also the moon & Mars! Peridot is not formed in or by volcanoes, but rather is formed in the mantle of Earth before being pushed to the surface by volcanoes & other tectonic activity such as sea-floor spreading. Peridot & diamond are the only gemstones formed this deep in the Earth! A few primary sources for peridot are Arizona, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, China, and Brazil. The largest source of peridot today comes from the Peridot Mesa of Arizona, where it is mined only by Apache tribe Native Americans on the San Carlos Reservation. Peridot mining remains a significant source of income for tribe members on the reservation.
Care & Cleaning
Peridot is a gem that requires some special care. It ranks between 6.5-7 (fair to good) on the Moh’s hardness scale, so while it is generally a reasonably durable gem, care should be taken not to bump, scratch, or hit peridot on its surroundings. Peridot jewelry can also be scratched by other gemstones & jewelry, so we recommend that you store it away from other jewelry. Remove jewelry before participating in any manual labor activities that pose a risk to your hands and ring, including:
- Chores & cleaning
- Gripping items with force (handlebars, luggage, etc.)
Peridot is heat sensitive. Never use extreme heat, steam, or ultrasonic cleaners when cleaning jewelry containing peridot. Instead, use warm soapy water & a soft brush or cloth. Avoid contact with chemicals including makeup, hand sanitizer, perfumes, cleaners (bleach & chlorine), etc. Exposure to heat and/or chemicals could cause color loss or other significant damage to the stone.
For complete cleaning & care recommendations, visit our Care Guidelines page here.
Designing a Peridot Ring
Peridot is a beautiful gem choice for an August birthstone ring, for the celebration of the 16th anniversary, or for those looking for a unique gem with a long & exciting history! We are excited to offer peridot as a center stone option in many wedding & birthstone ring options! Browse our collections of custom handcrafted rings here or design your own one-of-a-kind ring!