Peridot (PAIR-uh-doe) is the birthstone of those fortunate enough to have been born in the month of August. The Romans referred to this green gemstone, the gem form of the mineral olivine, as the “evening emerald”. This references the fact that its green color did not darken at night but was clearly visible by lamplight.
Curiously, the Egyptians considered peridot the “gem of the sun”, even though they mined it at night, because it was not easily spotted during the day. Peridot was also thought to have various powers, one of them being a talisman when it was set in gold. It was also strung on donkey hair and tied around the left arm to ward off evil spirits. If held under the tongue, the stone was thought to lessen thirst during a fever.
If you remember peridot as being a rather unattractive, yellowish-green color, you need to look again! The newer finds are producing stones with vivid, lime-green color, with no olive tones. Peridot wears fairly well, with a hardness of 6.5 to 7. It is considered an affordable gemstone, even in its abundant larger sizes. The world’s largest recorded, cut peridot is 319 carats (from Burma) which you can see in the Smithsonian. Today’s major sources include Australia, Brazil, Burma, Arizona and Hawaii.
Closer to home, you can find a nice assortment of both loose and mounted peridot at Urban Jewelers. Come in and take a look …. we think you’ll change your mind about peridot!