HAVE you ever held a peridot in your hands? If so, you’ll have noticed its golden-green sparkle looks really vivid. Much more than other coloured gems.
This effect is partly caused by what’s called “high double refraction”. If you peer closely into a crystal, you’ll see a double image of some of the facets.
The gem is the August birthstone gem. It’s beauty makes it perfect for use in fine jewellery.
Take a look at this short video to fully appreciate the sparkle:
The “stardust” gem
Peridot has many myths attached to it. It’s always been a gem associated with sun, sky and fire.
Ancient Egyptians believed these golden-green gems were rays of sunlight fallen from the sky. In Hawaii, early inhabitants worshipped the gemstones as the tears of Pele, the volcano goddess.
Strangely enough, both of these primitive theories are somewhat true!
In 2006, NASA’s Stardust explorer spacecraft returned with particle samples gathered from our solar system.
Among them scientists found peridot dust. This explained why the gemstone is so often found at meteor crash sites on Earth. It’s truly an “extraterrestrial gem”.
Forged in fire
Peridot is also found in the Earth’s mantle layer, and in and around volcanos.
Geologists believe that this variation of the gem formed millions of years ago, after the earth’s magma cooled down and solidified into rock.
In Hawaii, you can even find peridot grains on the beach, mixed in with black volcanic sand. Sadly, these grains are too small to be used in jewellery.
Peridots have a fresh green color leaning towards gold or yellow, often referred to as “citrus green”, “lime green”, “bottle green” or “olive green”.
It is formed from a mineral called olivine, a type of iron magnesium silicate. The intensity of the green color depends on the amount of iron trace elements in the crystal.
Famous peridot jewellery
One of the most legendary peridot jewellery sets is a tiara and parure that originally belonged to Archduchess Isabella of Croÿ, an aristocratic descendant of an Austrian dynasty.
In 2001, the set was auctioned by Sotheby’s for about £300,000.
The buyer later loaned the necklace to comedian Joan Rivers for the 2004 Golden Globes.
Connected with nature
Through history, peridots have been regarded as a symbol of vitality, strength and new growth.
In primitive religions they were also used as a magical means of connecting humans with the forces of nature.
For instance, in Old Egypt priests made a drink called some, meant to give the body vigor and stimulate the mind. They would drink it from cups decorated with peridot.
They believed this would bring them closer to Isis, the goddess of nature and motherhood. Today, the gem is still Egypt’s national gemstone.
Astrologists link peridots with the star sign of Leo and it’s also the officially recognised gemstone for 16th wedding anniversaries.
Wearing August’s birthstone is said to attract love and harmonious relationships into your life.
Some believe the gem alleviates stress, sadness, anger and insomnia and makes you more patient, happy and confident.
The gem is perfectly suited to gift jewellery. It’s unique colour and sparkle, as well as it’s fascinating background, make it exceptionally beautiful and meaningful.