Peridot

“Chartreuse, the only liqueur so good they named a color after it.”

Warren (Quentin Tarantino), Death Proof (2007)

Etymology

The etymology of the name Peridot is a source of some disagreement; it is probably derived from the Arab word ‘Faridat’ (gem), but another explanation is that it stems from the Middle English ‘peridote’ (bright spot or button).

Chemical composition of Peridot

Peridot is an idiochromatic gem that belongs to the Silicate group. Owing its color to a high iron content, which is a significant part of its Chemical composition, Peridot can present even more intense hues thanks to traces of chrome and nickel. Although it is a transparent gemstone, Cat’s Eye Peridots are occasionally found, gemstones with a reflection that appears as a single bright band of light across the surface, caused by needle-shaped inclusions.

Peridot extraction

For years, the traditional source of Peridot was the island of Zabargad, off the Egyptian Coast in the Red Sea. However, the world’s largest deposit is located in the San Carlos Apache reserve in Arizona; other deposits are located in China and Pakistan.

An example of Zabargad Peridot

An example of Zabargad Peridot

The history of Peridot

Its delicate aspect has made Peridot a very well-loved gemstone with a rich history and fascinating mythology. In the past, Peridot was believed to aid in friendship, free the mind of envious thoughts and make its wearer more eloquent. In his mythological compendium, Liber De Lapidibus, Marbodius of Rennes (1035-1123) wrote that if Peridot were to be used as a protection from the wiles of evil spirits, the stone had to be pierced and strung on the hair of an ass and then attached to the left arm. Mentioned in several places in the Bible by its ancient name Chrystolite, Peridot was also a popular gemstone with pirates for its ability to chase away evil spirits and fear of the dark.

Properties of Peridot

Peridot’s colors encompass various tones of green, although the most desired stones present a rich, pure grassy green. If the stone is small in size, it may be eye clean, but as a Type II gemstone, Peridot always shows inclusions visible to the naked eye.

The highly sought after Kashmir Peridot

The highly sought after Kashmir Peridot

Varieties of Peridot

The most attractive Peridots are extracted in the Suppatt region of the Himalayas, in northwest Pakistan. The famed Kashmir Peridot displays more beautiful color, larger sizes and greater purity. Unfortunately, supply is very limited due to harsh winters that limit extraction between the months between June and September.

Care for Peridot

For some precious stones, drastic changes in temperature can cause damage. Peridot is one such stone, and should be protected against thermal shocks.