Peridot comes from the Arabic word “faridat,” meaning “gem,” or from the Greek word “peridona,” which means “give in abundance/something that provides richness.” It was known as the “evening emerald” by the ancient Greeks, and the “gem of the sun” by ancient Egyptians.
Peridot belongs to the olivine family group. It gets its color from iron and has a color range from greenish-yellow to yellowish-green to brown-green, lime green, and olive green. Today, the most sought-after color of peridot is a pure, grass-green without any hint of yellow or brown. Peridot may have inclusions of biotite, chromite, spinel, pyrope garnet, and liquid or gas-filled inclusions. Peridot is not normally treated. Occasionally, if fractures are present within the stone, it may be fracture-filled. Peridot’s Moh’s hardness is 6.5 to 7.
The oldest source of Peridot is in the Red Sea on the Egyptian island Zabargad (St. John’s Island) which had been given names like “Island of Death” and “Snake Island”. Peridot can be found in Pakistan, Myanmar (Burma), Tanzania, Vietnam, China, Brazil, Kenya, Africa, Australia, Finland, Norway, and the United States of America (Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico).
In 1912 the National Association of Jeweler’s made peridot the birthstone for August. It is the stone for the 16th Wedding Anniversaries. Peridot is associated with the zodiac sign of Libra, Capricorn, Leo, and Virgo.
Napoleon gave Josephine a peridot ring as a testament to his undying love and appreciation for her. Ancient Egyptians believe that peridot would keep evil spirits away. Hawaiian legend claims that peridot are the tears of the goddess Pele.
Peridot has historically been associated with power, influence, happiness, nobility, generosity, prosperity, good fortune, wealth, enlightenment, wisdom, secrecy, and protection from evil spirits, enchantments, and night terrors.
Historically speaking, peridot was believed to treat asthma, stomach ulcer pain, and stimulate contractions. They claimed it healed the heart, spleen, lungs, and digestive tract.
Avoid abrupt temperature changes, steamers, and acids. Ultrasonics are risky. Warm, mild soapy water and a soft brush is safest to use. Long-term exposure to acidic perspiration can damage the stone.