History of Peridot Gemstones
Peridot is one of the oldest gems in history. This birthstone has been used by the Egyptians as early 1500 BC, and today it is believed that the emeralds of the Cleopatra were dark green peridots. In ancient Egypt, peridot was mined on an island called Zeberget. It was believed then that these birthstone were mined during the night because they can barely be seen during the day. Peridots were the “evening emerald” for the Romans because even at night, its green color is still visible in dim light. Peridots were thought to have be brought back to the Europe during the Crusades. The three magi that adorn the shrine of the Cologne Cathedral are 200 carat-sized peridots.
When it comes to lore and mythology, peridot was believed to have amazing characteristics as well as powers. The gem was considered to be powerful in driving away evil spirits and the power it contains become much more intensified when the birthstone is set in gold. Peridot protects its owner from evils of the night and named as the “gem of the sun.” In medical history, peridots were used as a remedy for sinus and asthma problems. In Hawaii, peridots are treasure for they are the tears of the Goddess Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes.
Physical Properties of Peridot Gemstones
Peridot comes from the variety of forsteritic olivine with a chemical formulation of magnesium and iron. It is believed that the name of the gemstone was derived from either the word “peritot”, a French word that means unclear or from the word “faridat”, and Arabic word meaning gem. The gemstone peridot is characterized by a single color and the depth of its green color will depend on the quantity of iron that is stored on its crystal structure. Peridots color varies from brownish green down to olive and yellow green. Olivine mineral is of abundance; however, peridot crystals are rather rare which are collected from meteorites of iron and nickel. Peridot is also sometimes called as the “poor mans emerald.”
The finest peridots may have a rich color of green that ranges from medium to dark green. The popularity of this gemstone was revived when a new deposit was found in Pakistan in 1994. A mine was found in the western part of the Himalayan Mountains in the Nanga Parbat region which is 15,000 feet or 4.572 kilometers above sea level. Beautiful large crystals were found in these mines and the cuts of some of the peridot were magnificently large, that one of the peridot stone was said to be 300 carats. Currently most peridots are mined on the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona by Native Americans. There are also has been a large peridots found in Myanmar (Burma). Other countries where peridot or the olivine mineral is mined are in Brazil, China, South Africa, Tanzania, as well as Kenya, Sri Lanka, Mexico and the lava fields found in Saudi Arabia.
A 310 carat or 62 gram of peridot specimen resides in Washington DC at the Smithsonian Museum. “Kashmir” peridots are known to be special variety of these gems that comes from Pakistan. Experts believe that the finest crystal specimen of peridots are found in Egypt while in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.