What Is Peridot ? Looking Into the Olive Green Gemstone

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In the world of gemstones you have plenty to choose from, whether you want to wear them for their color, their properties, or simply because they are your birthstone. For those born in August, and for those who are in love with green-hued gemstones peridot sounds like a great option. Let’s take a look at what this olive-green gem actually is, and what we can learn about it.


What is peridot ?

Peridot is a type of olivine, the gem-quality version that does not break down as quickly. Peridot can be found in the Earth’s mantle and is pushed up during earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or simple tectonic movements. Some peridot on the market may come from meteorites, as it’s a very common material throughout the known universe.

Interestingly, most of the gem-quality peridot is actually extracted from meteorites, since the earth-formed peridot isn’t as stable when pushed to the surface of the earth. There is much less pressure on the gem, and the temperature is lower, so it becomes a bit brittle.

Peridot, the evening emerald

Due to its amazing green color, peridot has also been called the evening emerald. This is because of the way a peridot gem sparkle under discrete candlelight, with the green hues of an emerald. Normally an emerald does not reflect a lot of light back when exposed to just candle light. This is because peridot tends to be much clearer than emerald, and it has a higher refractive index (1.65-1.70) then emerald (1.56-1.60).

Peridot owes its green color to iron molecules, while emerald owes its green to vanadium, chromium, and iron. The overall hue of peridot is pure green with a slight yellow cast. Most of the time a peridot’s green is deeper and more vivid than an emerald, but it’s also lighter than an emerald.

Peridot is a bit more brittle than emerald (6.5-7 vs 7.5 on the Mohs scale), which simply means it has an easier time chipping or getting scratched with everyday wear. This doesn’t mean it’s not a good option if you’re looking for something like an emerald, but more affordable. It simply means you need to take a bit more care when wearing this gem, and maybe not wear it every single day.

Read also: What Are White Diamonds ?

Are peridot and olivine the same ?

Yes, peridot and olivine are the same gemstone. Peridot is the name given to gem-quality olivine, that is clear enough, is large enough, and has a good color. Olivine tends to be very small, and often as an inclusion in a rock formation.

What does a peridot symbolize ?

A peridot symbolizes peace, health, and it brings balance to the body’s mind and spirit. In older times peridot was considered a very lucky stone, in that it warded off evil spirits and negative energy from other people.

This beautiful gemstone is also the August birthstone, so if you are born in August or are planning an engagement in August, a peridot would be a beautiful and appropriate choice.

Is peridot rare ?

Peridot isn’t the rarest mineral, but it’s not a very common gemstone to find in jewelry shops, since the demand isn’t as high as it is for diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, and other more expensive gems. However peridot isn’t hard to come by, once you ask your jeweler to source one for you, or you go looking for one by yourself. Just know that you won’t easily stumble upon it in most stores.

Another reason you won’t easily find peridot for sale is because it’s a bit unstable when there’s not a tremendous amount of pressure on it. You see, peridot forms deep within the earth’s crust, under high heat and high pressure. Once it comes to the surface, the severe change in pressure causes it to turn brittle, which makes it a bit unstable.

Is peridot expensive ?

Peridot isn’t very expensive, so it’s a rather affordable alternative top emeralds if you’re looking for a green gemstone. For example on GemsNY a 2.00 carat cushion cut peridot with excellent color goes for about $270.

For comparison a 2.08 carat cushion cut emerald runs for nearly $16k, also on GemsNY. A differently cut emerald, with better color, and better clarity goes for over $34k, at 1.98 carats.

Back to peridot, when you put it into perspective it’s a very affordable gemstone, all things considered. What you should know before buying peridot is that you won’t easily find a very large stone, like say a 5 ct peridot is very unstable and doesn’t easily occur in nature (the rough cut).

In short, peridot is a beautiful gemstone that has its own color and its own meaning. It’s rather brittle so do be careful if you plan to wear it every day.

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