The Egyptians called peridot the “gem of the sun.”
Peridot has always been associated with light. Some believed that it protected its owner from “terrors of the night,” especially when it was set in gold. Others strung the gems on donkey hair and tied them around their left arms to ward off evil spirits. The word peridot comes from the Arabic “faridat,” which means “gem.” Most peridot formed deep inside the earth and was delivered to the surface by volcanoes. Some also came to Earth in meteorites, but this extraterrestrial peridot is extremely rare, and not likely to be seen in a retail jewelry store.
Peridot’s color ranges from yellowish green to greenish yellow. The most favored peridot color is a richly saturated pure grass green without any hint of yellow or brown, which is usually only achieved in gems of 10 ct or larger. Smaller examples tend to show yellowish green hues. Brown undertones lower the value of peridot.
The best quality peridot has no eye-visible inclusions, with perhaps a few tiny black spots—minute mineral crystals—visible under magnification. Other inclusions common in peridot are reflective, disk-shaped inclusions called “lily pads.”
Peridot is found as irregular nodules (rounded rocks with peridot crystals inside) in some lava flows in the United States, China, and Vietnam and, very rarely, as large crystals lining veins or pockets in certain types of solidified molten rock. Sources for the latter include Finland, Pakistan, Myanmar, and the island of Zabargad. Other sources of peridot are Egypt, Finland, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Tanzania.
Peridot is rarely treated, but might have fractures that can be filled to improve the apparent clarity.
6.5 to 7
Fair to Good
Care and Cleaning
Warm, soapy water is the best method for cleaning peridot. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are not recommended.