Peridot, the August birthstone, looks good on all sorts of people: brunettes, redheads and blondes, the fair-skinned and the dark. Similarly, peridots are gorgeous when combined with other gemstones. Ben David has taken advantage of the stone’s versatility by offering peridots both alone and paired with other fantastic gems.
What is this beautiful green stone? Peridot is the highest quality type of olivine, a mineral group named for its green hue. The color fluctuates depending on how much iron, chromium and nickel it contains. Gem explorers find the best peridot in Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Pakistan, Norway, Zaire, Hawaii and Arizona.
People have appreciated peridot for many centuries. Ancient Egyptians found peridots in the Red Sea and stashed the green gem in their tombs. Rumor has it that Cleopatra adored peridots. Romans nicknamed the stone “the emerald of the evening.” European crusaders brought peridots back from the Far East, and European artisans fashioned the stone into decorative objects and jewelry.
Like all stones, some people believe peridots have therapeutic powers. The alleged benefits of peridots include making you more patient and forgiving, increasing your emotional clarity and your ability to express tenderness and calm love. For those who prefer down-to-earth therapeutic uses, peridot allegedly eases chronic constipation. Actors have used peridot to dispel stage fright.
Gem searchers discovered a large cache of peridot in Pakistan in the 1990s. These stones had astounding color and clarity, leading to a resurgence of interest in peridots. They were also extremely hard to mine, being on a 4,000 foot pass that was only accessible during summer. Some of these faceted Kashmiri peridots weigh in at over 100 carats!
If you want to see the biggest peridot of all, you’ll have to visit Washington, DC. The Smithsonian has a 310 carat peridot.
Peridots also occur in outer space. “Pallasite peridot” is the term for a peridot found in a meteorites.
Peridots rank 6.5 to 7 on the hardness scale. So take off your peridot ring before gardening, doing the dishes, or other tasks which are rough on hands and jewels.
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