What is peridot, August Birthstone, meaning? Peridot has many myths attached to it. It’s always been a gem associated with sun, sky and fire. Hence it’s named the ‘stardust gem’. Find out all about this incredibly radiant citrus green gem that bewitches the eye.
The most sparkling gemstone of all
The golden-green sparkle of peridot looks really vivid, much more than other coloured gems.
The reason for this? A characteristic called “high double refraction”. It means that if you peer closely into a peridot gemstone, you’ll see a double image of some of its facets.
Take a look at this short video to fully appreciate its incredible sparkle:
The “stardust” gem from space
Peridot has always been a gem of legend and myth, associated with the sun, the sky and fire. Ancient Egyptians believed peridot gems were rays of sunlight fallen from the sky.
Strangely enough, this primitive theory is 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 gemstone.
A slice of the Esquel meteorite containing peridot, image by Doug Bowman, Wikimedia Commons
Forged in fire
Peridot exists in the Earth’s mantle layer and in and around volcanos. Therefore, 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, early inhabitants worshipped the gems as the tears of Pele, the volcano goddess.
There, you can even find peridot grains on Papakolea beach, mixed in with black volcanic rock, making the sand green. Sadly, these grains are too small to be used in jewellery!
Big Island of Hawaii, green peridot sand, image by Wasif Malik, Wikimedia Commons
Peridot gems have a fresh green colour leaning towards gold or yellow. Therefore, gemmologists often refer to its colour as citrus green, lime green, bottle green or olive green.
Peridot formed millions of years ago from a mineral called olivine, a type of iron magnesium silicate.
The intensity of the green colour depends on the amount of iron trace elements present in the crystal.
Peridot crystals form from a mineral called olivine, a type of iron magnesium silicate
Famous peridot jewellery
The peridot tiara and parure set in the pictures below is one of the most famous peridot pieces in the world. It 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.
Egypt’s national gemstone
Through history, people have regarded peridot as a symbol of vitality, strength and new growth.
For instance, in Old Egypt, priests made a drink called some, meant to give the body vigour 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.
Birthstone lore – What is peridot August birthstone meaning?
Astrologists link peridots with the month of August and the star sign of Leo. Furthermore, international gem associations officially recognise it as the gemstone gift for 16th wedding anniversaries.
Some also say that peridot has special powers. For instance, if you wear it as your birthstone, legend says it can attract love and harmonious relationships into your life.
Some people also believe the gem alleviates stress, sadness, anger and insomnia and makes you more patient, happy and confident.
Peridot offers incredible sparkle and radiance. Therefore, it makes a great gift.
No other gemstone has its citrus green hue, so it makes a very special gift for lovers of gemstone and a great addition to a jewellery collection.
It’s unique colour and sparkle, as well as its fascinating background, make it exceptionally beautiful and meaningful for August birthdays and anniversaries.