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Peridot Gemstone | August Birthstone| Myths and Folklore

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Peridot Gemstone (Olivine), August Birthstone.  The ancient Romans referred to peridot as the "evening emerald" , since at night it can be seen to glow vibrantly even in dim candlelight. For this reason peridot was traditionally mined at night since the glow it gives off makes it easier to see.

Peridot has receptive energies, it can be used to dispel negative emotions and sooth the nervous system. It is helpful as a calming sleep aid if worn to bed.

Peridot
Wear a peridot for thee,
No conjugal fidelity,
The August born without this stone,
'Tis said, must live unloved; alone.
                             
of unknown author

 

Myths and Folklore

Peridot is the name used by gemologists for gem-quality specimens of the mineral Olivine.  It has been around for hundreds of years, the ancient Romans referred to peridot as the "evening emerald" , since at night it can be seen to glow vibrantly even in dim candlelight. For this reason peridot was traditionally mined at night since the glow it gives off makes the stone easier to see.

New deposits of the gemstone were discovered circa. 1900  near the Egyptian Coast but were soon mined out.  After that peridot was largely forgotten until the mid 1990's when another deposit of new high quality peridot was found in Pakistan.  Someof these stones were the finest ever discovered and were marketed as Kashmir Peridot,  sparking a revival.

A relatively inexpensive gemstone, peridot comes in varying shades of green, from a bottle green through to greenish yellow. Usually eye clean, it can contain inclusions of tiny crystals of black chromite, the more interesting ones can resemble the shape of lilypads.  In very rare cases peridot can also display asterism (a star) or chatoyancy (cat's-eye) - see Phenomenal Gems page for more on these characteristics.

On the Moh's Scale of hardness, peridot comes in at 6.5 - 7, so is softer than some of the other everyday gems such as amethyst, or ruby. It would best worn in earrings or necklaces or brooches, in order to prevent incurring hard knocks.

Care of your peridot jewelry

Peridot is not usually treated, even so steam cleaning is not recommended, since when exposed to rapid or extreme temperature change peridot can crack or break. The best method for cleaning stones is to wash with warm soapy water, rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

Crystal Structure and Chemical Composition

Crystal Structure

Orthorhombic

Composition

Magnesium iron silicate

Hardness

6.5

Specific Gravity

3.34

Refractive Values

1.64 - 1.69

birefringence (doubly refractive gems only)

0.036

Lustre

Vitreous to greasy