Birthstone August - Peridot

We present to you August's birthstone, the peridot gem, a few of which you'll find in our jewellery collection.  Peridot is an unusual, yet spectacular stone with its roots in ancient Egypt.

A little bit of history, folklore and legend:

Peridot is an ancient stone which dates back to the Pharaohs in Egypt and was referred to by the ancient Egyptians as the “gem of the sun”. The first known and predominant source of peridot was Topazo Island (now Zabargad or St. John’s Island) in the Egyptian Red Sea. In Ancient times Island habitants were forced to collect the gems for the Pharaoh’s treasury.

In the middle ages, Europeans brought peridot stones back from the Crusades to decorate church plates and robes. Peridot was also known to ancient Hebrews and is cited as one of the stones used by Aaron and found in the text of the apocalypse (Revelations).

One famous large peridot gem adorning the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in the cathedral at Cologne was for centuries, believed to be an Emerald, and only identified as peridot late in the last century.

 

A few jewellery historians are now convinced that some, or possibly all of the Emeralds Cleopatra was famous for wearing, were in fact Peridots from Egypt. This emerald-looking shade of green is almost never encountered in peridots under ten carats. To find stones of such colour, one must look in Egypt and Burma, where production has reached a virtual stand still in recent years.

 

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.  Peridots of two or three carats are expensive, and a fine eight-carat stone is extremely rare. Any stones beyond eight carats are collectors or museum pieces.

 

It’s believed that that the stone contains magical powers in the form of bringing inner strength and luck to the wearer. Other legends credit peridot with helping to ward off evil spirits, bringing happiness and good cheer, delivering healing powers, attracting lovers, and strengthening the eyes.  

 

What is Peridot:

Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral olivine. Its chemical composition includes iron and magnesium, and iron is the cause of its attractive yellowish green colours. The gem often occurs in volcanic rocks called basalts, which are rich in these two elements.  Rarely, peridot can have an extraterrestrial source, being contained in meteorites that have fallen to earth.

Peridot is a relatively soft stone, rating a 6.5 to 7 on the hardness scale, making it a little softer than amethyst or emeraldPeridot should be spared rugged wearing if mounted in rings

It's colouring:

Unlike other stones, the colour range for peridot is narrow, from a brown-green colour to yellowish green to pure green. Peridots with a more intense and darker olive-green colour tend to be more sought after.  Yellowish green is the most common peridot colour seen in jewellery and that you'll see in our collection.

It's source:

Before a coup d’etat in 1962, Burma was still a thriving peridot producer, principally in its North Central Mogok district. Like Egypt, Burma still produces some gems, but these two countries are no longer the thriving producers they once were.

Most of the peridot mined today comes from China, Pakistan, and Arizona and the gems that are found are mostly under 3 carats.

Two of the finest peridot collections in the world can be found at the Field Museum in Chicago, and the Museum of Natural History in New York.Other newer sources include Mexico, Oregon, Norway, Russia and Sri Lanka.

Caring for your Peridot jewellery:

The best and safest way for you to clean your peridot, is with warm, soapy water. You should take special care of your peridot to ensure that it does not come in contact with drastic temperature changes, which can damage the stone. You should also protect your stone from scratches and sharp blows and avoid any contact with chemicals. Peridots should not be cleaned in ultrasonic or steam cleaners.

Other fascinating facts and a poem:

1. Peridot is not only born of fire here on earth, but it has also arrived to Earth from outer space. Although many different gems can be found in meteorites that have fallen to earth, peridot is the only one that is found in large enough pieces to make jewellery from. 

 2. Peridot has a particularly high double refraction. This means that when one closely observes the stone, they’ll most likely see double, that is to see two of each pavilion facet.

 3.  Although the popularity of peridot somewhat declined until the 1900's, deposits found in the Kashmir region, some of the finest ever mined, helped to restore admiration for the gem.

4. Chrysolite is another name for peridot . Since ancient times it has been considered a tradesman’s stone, most likely because the word gold features in its name (in Ancient Greek, “chrysos” meant gold and “lithos” – stone).

5. In the Middle Ages, bankers chose it as their talisman as the stone’s green tint (the colour of hope) signified luck for its owner.

6. Peridot is sometimes called a “poor man’s emerald” or an “evening emerald” because its yellow hue disappears under artificial light and the stone looks green.

7. The most valuable peridot has bright yellow-green colour tones. Stones of more than 8 carats have collector status.

8. The rarest forms of peridot are cat’s eye peridot and star peridot. The effect is created by the parallel needle shaped rivets inside the stone.

9. The largest cut peridot is 310 carats and displayed at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Another, a yellowish green stone weighing 192.75 carats, used to belong to the Russian royal family and is now in Russia’s Diamond Fund.

10. The most famous peridot jewellery collection comes in the form of a tiara, necklace and earrings owned by the Austrian Grand Duchess Isabella.  In 2001, these jewels were sold by Sotheby’s in London as part of the Magnificent Antique Jewels event and purchased by the jewellery brand Fred Leighton.

A Peridot Poem:

Oh Peridot, you are a glorious gemstone, one of a kind. Born of fire from the molten rocks of mother Earth's womb, conceived by the romantic explosion caused by Sun. You are the love child of Sun and Earth that made you bloom. Your unique complexion varies in shades from green to yellow symbolizing Earth's fertility and Sun's verve in abundance. You are the crystal of warmth, well-being and you carry the power of mental and physical healing, the inner radiance. You are not only the national gem of Egypt but also been valued by ancient royalties for driving away all the dreary dark forces. As amulets with your enigmatic charm you have quelled sorcery, black magic, evil spirits, calamities, nightmares and madness. You are the ultimate talisman one can quest, for enrichment in all aspects of life. You're the mascot for lost souls in worriment. 

 

Credit to © | 2016