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Peridot is the gemstone specimen of the mineral olivine. It is one of the few gemstones that comes in only one color.

It is called an idiochromatic gemstone because its color comes from its own chemical composition and not from impurities as is usually the case with other gemstones.

But peridot is also known as the Evening Emerald because it is at its loveliest at dusk rather in the harsh daylight. It was once mistaken for emeralds in the past and has yet another and less charitable name, the Poor Man's Emerald.

It was highly prized in antiquity especially by the Egyptians and considered sacred. It was one of the twelve gemstones in the Breastplate of Aaron and was known as chrysolite. The crusaders brought the gemstone back to Europe.


Historic specimen of Forsterite var. peridot, ...Image via Wikipedia


Peridot has been mined for thousands of years from a barren, fearful place, St John's Island (Zabargad today) in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt. Mining there has since ceased.

ZabargadImage via Wikipedia

Today, peridot comes from a number of places, with superb specimens from Pakistan and Burma. However, the USA is the chief world supplier - 90% of available peridot comes from just one place, the San Carlos Apache Reservation, Arizona.

How is peridot pronounced? Most commonly "pear-a-doe" but "pear-a-dot" is also used. There are two possible word origins so either could be correct.

Photo with kind permission from Finnish Jewelry designer, Helmetti, who has a way with wire. This is her take on the Tree of Life pendant style using this appropriately hued gemstone as shown on her Flickr page.

References
Peridot by Gemstone Organisation
Victoria Finlay (2006) Jewels: A Secret History

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4 comments:

  1. I like this pendant. Its very unique and pretty.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Helmetti, the Finnish jewelry designer deserves the compliment! I'm a big fan of her work.

    ReplyDelete
  3. love peridot,its perfect for Tree of Life pendants

    ReplyDelete

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