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Gemstones Facts


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August Birthstone

PeridotsPeridot birthstones

Mohs scale hardness: 6.5-7

Peridot is among the oldest known gemstones. Peridot is a lovely, bright green gem which is sometimes confused with emerald. Peridot is sometimes referred to as an "evening emerald" because under artificial light it glows as a brilliant green. It is said that many "emerald" of royal treasures and Cleopatra have turned out to be peridot. Peridots were used as early as 1500 BC by the Egyptians and was considered the gem of the sun.

How to Pronounce Peridot

In fact, before clear distinctions were made between gem varieties, all green stones were collectively known as smaragdus, which has evolved into the word emerald. In Arizona, peridot is pronounced as “pear-a-dot” while in many places it is pronounced as “pear-a-doe”. Both pronounciations are considered correct. It is not clear if the name peridot come from the Arabic word faridat meaning unclear. The yellowish-green color stone was first called as peridot by the French in the 18th century. Before this, peridot was called as topaz. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., houses tthe largest cut peridot, a 310 carat gem.

Peridot Characteristics

Peridot is a mineral named olivine, the only gemstone found in meteorites and one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color which is basically an olive green. Peridot has strong birefringence, it means that if you look into the stone, a doubling of the facet edges will often be seen and you can see a doubling of the inclusions too. Typical inclusions in a peridot include black specks of biotite, veils that look like a milky white ribon and liquid-gas inclusions called lily pads that look like spaceships or fried eggs. Because the way peridot bends and splits the ray of light passing through it, it has a vellvety appearance, a rich glow and a slightly greasy luster.

The most valuable is considered a dark-olive green color or has an iron percentage of less than 15% and includes nickel and chromium as trace elements that may also contribute to the best peridot color. The shade of green is caused by iron and sometimes the gem has a brown tinge when the iron content is too high. The color of the peridot can be lime green, grass green, yellowish green, golden green, brown and olive. The best Pakistan and Burmese peridot will have a more grass green color. The lime green color peridot is typically the best peridot of Arizona. Sometimes vinegar is used to help in the peridot polishing process since the gem is considered one of the most difficult stone to polish.

China mines large amount of pale green peridot in small sizes of less than two carats. The low prices of chinese peridot make it one of the most affordable of gems available in Asia. Traditionally, some of the largest, finest specimens of peridot have come from Myanmar, although Pakistan is now mining equally large and beautiful pieces. Gems in sizes of 30 to 50 carats can command high prices as collector stones. Miners searched peridot crystals at night because the moonlight madde the crystals easier to see. The locations then were marked and they come back in the daylight to dig. Peridot occurs in fresh, bright greens and tends to be clearer than emarald, without a lot of inclusions. It is also much less expensive.

How Peridot is Formed

These August gemstones are found in volcanic basalts. They are formed deep within the earth under tremendous heat and pressure. Olivine has a very high melting point, this explains why it's mainly found in places where pressure and heat are abundant such as volcanic rock and the mantle of the earth. In these deep and hot places, the stone we know as the peridot is slowly formed. Peridot is also the gem recommended for the 16th wedding anniversary.

Since peridot is a relatively inexpensive gemstone, synthetic materials are hard to be found. The gem is not typically enhanced or treated. About the only drawback to peridot is its relative softness. Special care should be taken to protect it from scratches. It should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner. You can use warm mild soapy water to clean peridot jewelry.

Peridot Metaphysical Properties

It is believed peridots have special properties:

Asian origins: Myanmar and China.
Astrologically, peridot is associated with the zodiac sign of Libra.
August birth flower: Gladiolus.



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