Peridot Gemstones


Peridot has been known since ancient times, and high quality peridot was mined from the island of Zabargad in the Red Sea. Some historians believe that Cleopatra's famous emeralds were actually peridot.

Natural Peridot
 Peridot, Burma

Peridot has several unusual properties. Most gem varieties are formed in the earth's crust. The two exceptions are peridot and diamond, which are formed much deeper in the earth, in the earth's mantle. Peridot forms in magma in the upper mantle, about 20 to 55 miles deep; and it is brought to the surface by tectonic or volcanic activity. Diamond, by contrast, is formed much deeper in the mantle, around 100-150 miles below the surface, at extreme pressure and temperature.

Peridot is one of the few gemstones that comes in only one color. Peridot is an idiochromatic gem, meaning it is colored not by trace elements, but rather by its essential chemical composition. Peridot is green because it contains iron, and the depth of green depends on the percentage of iron in its crystal structure. Peridot can vary in color from yellow-green to apple-green to olive green.

Another unusual fact about peridot is that peridot crystals have been collected from some Pallasite meteorites. A Pallasite is a rare kind of stony-iron meteorite of which only about 60 specimens are known. Peridot is thus far the only gemstone mineral found in meteorites.

Peridot Pair China 5.85 cts
 Peridot, China

Important peridot sources are Burma, Pakistan, China, Vietnam and the United States. The finest quality peridot has traditionally come from Burma, though the Pakistani peridot is now highly regarded as well. The USA was for many years the largest peridot producer, with major deposits in Arizona. It is estimated that 80% to 95% of the world's production of peridot comes from the USA mainly for commercial quality peridot (peridot is the birthstone for the month of August).

The largest known cut peridot is 310 carats and is in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Peridot is a relatively inexpensive gemstone in small sizes, but the value goes up with stones over 5 carats, with 10-15 carat stones counting as very rare. There is no known treatment to improve the color or clarity of peridot, so peridot is always an untreated gem.


Click here to see our collection of Fine Peridot
 
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