August Birthstone: PERIDOT

2015WP Aug 5 peridot copyThe “Gem of the Sun” is the perfect way to celebrate the otherwise unglamorously named Dog Days of Summer. Peridot’s shimmering shade of lime is perfect for those bright days spent on the water and summer evenings lingering in the starlight. Find the peace and good luck peridot is supposed to bring its wearers.

The gem variety of the olivine mineral family, peridot is one of the few gemstones that occurs in only one color. Its lively tint is determined by the amount of iron contained in its crystal structure, with colors ranging from yellowish-green to olive to brownish-green.  The most favored color in the gem is a richly saturated pure grass green, typically achieved in gems of 10 carats or larger. Smaller examples tend to show yellowish-green hues and brown undertones that lower the value of the stone.

Did you know? Peridot is an ancient gem. Found everywhere from pallasite meteorites to deep inside the earth where volcanic activity brings it to the surface, the ancient Egyptians prized peridot. It was the Egyptians who mined it on the Red Sea island of Zabargad (St. John’s Island), a secluded place that was guarded closely to protect the treasure. Many of the world’s peridots that were in circulation before  70 A.D., were mined here, possibly including the fabulous stone that once adorned the King of Tyrus as referred to in the Bible. The largest known cut peridot weighs 310 carats and is exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Today’s peridot comes from a number of mines around the world. The market holds large, attractive gems from Kyaukpon above Mogok in Burma, cutable gem peridots near San Carlos, Arizona, and a deposit in Sondmore, Norway, which produces lightly colored stones that are brilliant when faceted. Some small fragments of the glittering stone can be found in Hawaii.


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