What is Peridot?

The peridot is all the rage. Besides being the stone of the month of August, it is loved by jewelers who like colors with a strong personality, which cannot be confused with others. And the olive color of the peridot is undoubtedly unique. 

The name of peridot stone in the French language comes from the Arabic word faridat, which means jewel. This stone has, in fact, a long history: it was already known to the ancient Egyptians around 1500 BC, which they called “jewel of the sun.” It was also very loved by Cleopatra, who amused them.

What is it: Peridot, also referred to as topaz, is not a very common stone. It is found mainly in the depth (even 200-300 kilometers below the earth’s crust): this gem is then brought to the surface of the earth by earthquakes or volcanoes.

Where is: Peridot is mined in Arizona (smaller and lighter in color), Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, and China, but also in Pakistan and Kenya. A curiosity: some peridots were discovered in some meteorites.

Characteristics: Unlike many other gemstones, peridot has only one color: pale green. However, it can have different shades, from olive green, lemon, yellow or black. The tones of greatest demand are forest green, a little ‘to yellow, and no brown tint. The depth of green depends on the amount of iron that is contained in the crystal structure. It is not a very hard stone: you have to be careful, then, not to scratch it. Usually, jewelers try to organize so that it is the most protected.

Shopping guide: If you want a jewel with peridot of a specific size, know that the commercial quality is divided into classes A and B. The first is clear, without brown tones. The quality B has a paler color or has visible inclusions. It is also a relatively inexpensive gemstone if the weight is 4 carats. More than 10 karat peridot has become very rare and expensive.

Why is it called a peridot?

The origin of the name peridot is not precisely known. Indeed, however, the stone was prized in ancient times. According to some, the word derives from an alteration of the Anglo-Norman language pedoretés, translated into classical Latin with pæderot. Others indicate instead that the word peridot derives rather from the Arabic word peridot, which means gem.


The largest olivine peridot is a 310-carat (62-gram) specimen in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC.

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