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Prized for over 4,000 years, the beauty of the apple-green hued gemstone peridot, beloved by Ancient Egyptians so much that the location of its fog-shrouded volcanic mines was a closely guarded secret.

Peridot, also known as the “volcanic gem,” is created by fire as it usually forms in rocks formed by volcanic activity. Peridot is occasionally discovered in meteorites that fall to Earth, but this is rare and rarer still to find such gems made available in jewelry. Peridot has captured the attention of people for thousands of years, regardless of the source, whether it is caused in the fiery depths or in rocks from another world.

This stone has distinguishing characteristics. One of them is that light has no effect on its radiant green colour of this gemstone. As a result, the gem has been dubbed “gem of the sun” or “emerald of the evening.” These gems were frequently mined at night in ancient Egypt because they were easy to find even in low light.

According to legend, royal patrols that patrolled the entire island were to execute trespassers while protecting miners from thieves. The miners would gather the gems for the Pharaoh’s burial treasury at all hours of the day and night, as the peridot crystals were said to radiate in the darkness of night by the light of the lamps they carried. The miners would mark the location where they saw the glowing gems and return the next morning to retrieve them.

with peridot winston candy high jewelry watch by harry winston platinum quartz hjtqhm29py001 pi1
Winston Candy High Jewelry Watch by Harry Winston 29.6 x 31.85 mm platinum, 18K yellow gold quartz. 15 pear-shaped peridots surround the watch face. *Limited edition: unique piece. Photo courtesy of Harry Winston.

“Evening Emeralds”

The Romans dubbed it “evening’s emerald” because, unlike deep-green emeralds, Peridot’s rich citrus tones remain consistent even when illuminated by candlelight. Europeans adorned cathedrals with fine Peridot stones during the Middle Ages. Peridot is thought to have originated in Ancient Egypt on the Red Sea volcanic island of Zebargad. After the fall of the Egyptian empire, the island was lost to antiquity and was only rediscovered in 1906. Peridot deposits in Zebargad have since been depleted.

Peridot can now be found primarily in the United States, Myanmar, Pakistan, and the Himalayas. In Hawaii, trace amounts of peridot have also been discovered; tiny grains of Peridot, mixed with sand, line the beaches but these are too small to cut. To Hawaiians, they represent Pele’s, the goddess of fire’s, tears.

1st dibs vintage bulgari peridot
Vintage Bulgari Peridot Earrings 18k Yellow Gold Clip On Signed Fine Jewelry. Photo courtesy of 1st Dibs

Historically Popular with Royals

The peridot stone’s popularity skyrocketed in the mid-1800s. It was most popular during the Edwardian and Victorian eras, when vibrant jewels with colourful gemstones were considered fashionable. The Edwardian era was named after Edward VII of England, who declared peridots to be his favourite gemstone. While he only ruled for nine years, the peridot’s popularity lasted well into the twentieth century.

Traditional Use ad Metaphysical Properties of Peridot

Peridot is said to emit a positive energy and channels abundance and love. Peridot is known as the birthstone for August and is the traditional anniversary gem gift for 16th wedding anniversaries. The metaphysical properties of this stone represent clarity of thought and light and its bright sparkle was thought to ward off evil during the night in ancient times. Peridot, also known as the stone of compassion and is thought to bring good health, restful sleep, and peace to relationships by balancing emotions and the mind. This welcoming bright green stone has an uncanny ability to inspire eloquence and creativity, as well as delight and good cheer. It attracts love and soothes anger by renewing all things.

Garrard Tudor Rose Petal Green Sapphire Ring 2017467
House of Garrard, Tudor Rose Petal Tourmaline, Peridot and Green Sapphire Ring In 18ct White Gold with Diamonds. Photo courtesy of House of Garrard

Availability and Prized Pieces

While this stone is by no means rare, Peridot from Zebirget, Egypt, is the largest and most expensive. It weighs 62.35 grammes and has a carat weight of 311.78. It is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Another magnificent piece is the 192.75-carat peridot from the Russian Diamond Treasury.

cartier peridot panther
Panthère de Cartier ring, Yellow gold, lacquer, peridots, onyx. Photo courtesy of Cartier.

About the Stone and Selection

Peridot has a Moh’s hardness of 6.5 – 7, indicating that it is a relatively soft gemstone that is best suited for earrings, pins, and pendants. Because Peridot is abundant and frequently large in size, fine peridot jewellery can be found in nearly every shape and size imaginable. Peridot’s versatility makes it an excellent choice for any collection when fashioned into carved beads, suites, fantasy cuts, or cabochons.

Perfect for Statement Pieces

This classic stone makes a statement elegantly and be used in fashion jewelry pieces. Furthermore, because Peridot is cut in a variety of shapes and sizes, designers frequently construct a piece around a spectacular Peridot rather than placing a Peridot in a pre-manufactured setting. Thanks to increased use of this stone by modern jewelry designers, Peridot is featuring more in fine jewelry design.

cartier bracelet Panthere de Cartier High Jewelry bracelet White gold peridot onyx emeralds diamonds
Bracelet Panthère de Cartier High Jewelry. Peridot, onyx, emeralds, and diamonds in white gold. White gold bracelet with a 79.89-carat cushion-shaped peridot, emerald eyes, onyx, baguette-cut diamonds, and brilliant-cut diamonds. Photo courtesy of Cartier.

Caring for Peridot Stones

While Peridot has a strong and stately appearance, its hardness and sensitivity to temperature necessitate special care. Peridot rings last longer when worn as a fashion wardrobe accessory rather than as an everyday piece of jewellery. Furthermore, sudden and dramatic temperature changes can harm Peridot. To clean Peridot jewellery at home, soak it in a solution of warm water and mild dish detergent for a few minutes. Clean around the setting with a soft brush to restore the gem’s lustre. Never use ultrasonic or steam cleaning on Peridot, as these methods can easily damage the gemstone.

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