The eighth month of the year has started loading and it brings us the fresh look of peridot, that beautiful, splendid gemstone with a heartwarming lime green glow. Consumers love it because it offers them a complete makeover in just a matter of seconds, which makes the August birthstone the favorite gemstone in colored jewelry. Read on to discover more about peridot’s existence and what makes it a unique choice for any occasion.
Obviously, the first question any novice would ask is: “What is peridot?” Peridot is a rare variety of olivine, a mineral with transparent olive green color that is mainly composed of magnesium and iron. Iron is actually, the component that gives peridot its captivating color appearance. Speaking of which, peridot is one of the rare gemstones that come in only one color. So, you will never see a peridot colored in blue, red, pink, orange or any other hue from the color spectrum rather than green. This feature increases the August birthstone’s reputation and adds more character to the jewelry pieces adorned with it.
Peridot’s color range starts from light green with yellowish tints and ends with deeply saturated green hues. The more intense the “greenness” of the gem, the more valuable it is. Large green peridots with excellent color grades are hard to find and they fetch incredibly high prices. Therefore, future buyers of peridot gemstone jewelry should get used to the fact that most of the peridot offer on the market comes in smaller sizes and lighter hues.
Fine-quality peridot has no inclusions visible to the naked eye; in case there are some, they can be noticed only under magnification. The most common inclusions that burden peridot’s clarity appear in a disk shape and are popularly called “lilly pads”. The clarity grade of peridot can be significantly improved or impaired with the quality of the cut. Hence, the reason why fine-quality peridot is always symmetrical and flawlessly cut. Some of the best-selling peridot looks are oval, cushion, pear and marquise.
Basically, peridot arrives to the fine jewelry industry from any of the following sources:
1. The depths of Earth’s crust
A great part of peridot material comes from Earth’s mantle, where it is formed at depths of 20-55 miles. The process of development is long and it is supported by intense heat and pressure that give peridot its distinctive specifications. Thanks to the volcanic and other similar geological activities, peridot is brought to Earth’s surface and it gets ready for mining. Some of the leading peridot producing countries in the world are Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Burma and Arizona (United States).
2. Asteroids and Meteorites
It has been proved that asteroids and flaming (pallasite) meteorites contain peridot in their structure, but they source it in significantly smaller amounts than the earth-mined peridot. Therefore, this type of peridot is much more expensive and it can be found in only a few meteorite deposits in the world. They have made it being known as the gem that comes from outerspace.
HISTORY & LORE
The August birthstone has a long and rich history that made it part of numerous myths and legends. Gemologists name it among the earliest discovered colored gems. The word “peridot” is derived from “peridona”, a word of Greek origin that signifies “giving plenty.” Pliny the Elder, a Roman author from 23-79 AD is known as the first person who discovered peridot on one of the Egyptian Foul Bay islands. He initially misidentified the lime-green gem as topaz, hence, the name of the island where the discovery took place – “Topazios”. The island’s official name today is St. John’s Island or Zabargad and it is a popular tourist destination where spectacular specimens of peridot can be found.
Peridot was a highly treasured gem for ancient Egyptians, not just because it was one of their most abundant natural treasures, but also because of its symbolic properties. Hence, they believed that peridot promotes power, influence and dignity, which were the traits that only pharaohs could posses. The August birthstone enjoys quite a reputation in the Hawaiian culture as well, especially among August babies. There, it is seen as a representation of Pele’s tears, the goddess of fire and volcanoes. In gemology and literature, peridot is often referred to as “The Gem of the Sun”, thanks to its earthy look and lifetime of existence.
Since ancient times, this extreme gem has been in an unceasing demand for fascinating vintage designs. If truth be told, peridot has always been the biggest rival of emerald, which is absolutely one more renowned specimen in the colored world of gemstones. Wondering what is peridot’s major advantage? Its price that is significantly lower than emerald’s. For those who haven’t known yet, the August birthstone was one of the best-selling gems during the Victorian, the Edwardian and the Art Deco era. For instance, it was King Edward VII’s favorite gem that he made an essential part of his royal attire.
HOW TO SHOP FOR PERIDOT JEWELRY?
1. Be sure you compromise on its color.
The crushed olivine look of peridot is definitely not suitable for any style. To get the most of its allure, you need to appreciate its uniqueness. Therefore, the August birthstone is more likely to be favored by non-traditional women who have a special fondness for vintage-inspired jewelry. Most commercially available peridots feature lime-green and olive hues. So, be ready to hear that it is not easy or cheap to find a piece with a richly saturated green color, which is said to protect the wearer and bring good fortune.
2. Carefully select the cut.
One of the major principles in jewelry making is that the quality of the cut defines the overall beauty and brilliance of the piece. Usually, the cut is determined by size; larger peridots look magnificent in oval, cushion, marquise and pear cuts. The flawlessly cut peridot reflects light evenly across the gem’s overall surface and makes it appear undeniably vibrant and eye-catching.
3. Choose a white metal setting.
The August birthstone cannot appear more attractive than in a white metal setting, such as silver, platinum and white gold. It is where its color gets the best display, as it is optimally accentuated by any of these metal choices. Silvery-white peridot jewelry creates a contemporary, edgy look and it promotes utmost refinement. Combine it with neutral colors, such as black, white, navy or beige to reach the ultimate Bohemian magnetism. Don’t forget that it also makes the perfect gift for August babies.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF PERIDOT JEWELRY?
Ranking 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, peridot is considered a relatively hard gem and yet, it requires special care and maintenance. Therefore, it should not be exposed to hard and sharp objects that can potentially cause scratching, chipping or breaking of the gem. To avoid any of these worst-case scenarios to happen, leave your peridot jewelry at home before heading to the gym or performing other extreme physical activities. In terms of cleaning, peridot jewelry is best to be cleaned with soap and mild water only. Ultrasonic jewelry cleaners are strongly not recommended, as they will damage the gem’s sturdiness, as well as its color and brilliance.