Welcome to Gemstones 101, a series at Takayas Custom Jewelry where we shed a little light on the amazing gemstones we love to feature in our jewelry projects. This week’s entry puts the spotlight on August’s empyrean birthstone, the sparkling peridot!
Peridot is a variety of the mineral olivine. Forming the majority of Earth’s upper mantle, olivine is abundant in our planet’s subsurface, but weathers quickly upon exposure to the surface – making gem-quality peridot very treasured indeed! These gorgeous jewels are often cut from rare forsterite rocks that occur in cooled lava, but extraterrestrial peridot has even been discovered in stunning stony-iron meteorites.
Unlike many other gemstones, peridot only occurs in one color, a rich olive-green created by iron present in the stone’s crystal structure. The individual hue and intensity of a stone can vary depending on the percentage of iron present, and a pure, vivid grass-like green tends to be the most highly valued. Most fine peridot specimens are eye clean, meaning that no inclusions are readily visible within a gem’s crystal structure without the use of magnification. Peridot also possesses incredibly strong double refraction, which lends a wonderfully dizzying quality as you gaze through the gem and notice how the light seems to display double the amount of facets!
Sporting such an arresting shade of green with out-of-this-world effects, it isn’t surprising what a prominent role peridot has played in our imaginations, across many cultures and many names. Once referred to as topazios as it was mined from Zabargad Island by ancient Egyptians, peridot is still known by some as its other traditional moniker chrysolite, which means “golden stone” in Greek. The etymology of “peridot” itself is uncertain, but has most commonly been attributed to Arabic faridat, meaning “gem”.
If you were born in the month of August, we’re inviting you to show off your birthday pride by incorporating peridot stones into your next special jewelry project. Take your outfit to the next level with a necklace string with glimmering fancy-cut peridots, or fashion a unique brooch studded with peridot accent stones. No one can deny the irresistible shine and beauty of this “gem of the sun”!