A Gem Born of Fire
called the “volcanic gem,” peridot usually forms in the rocks created by
violent volcanic activity. On rare occasions, peridot also has been
found in meteorites that have fallen to earth. No matter the source,
whether from Mother Nature’s fiery depths or rocks that are truly out of
this world, peridot has caught the attention of humans for thousands of
years. Ranging from a light yellowish green to darker, richer shades of
olive, peridot conjures images of young spring grass or the greens of a
rich, dark forest at twilight.
Peridot has a history dating back well over 3,500 years. It was first
mined on the Isle of Serpents in the Red Sea. Later renamed St. John’s
Island, this historically important source of peridot supplied gems to
the royal rulers of ancient Egypt, including Cleopatra. In recent years
the popularity of peridot has steadily increased. This can be attributed
to its availability, affordability and the growing use of shades of
chartreuse by some of the world’s leading fashion designers.
Peridot is the birthstone for August.
Peridot in limited quantities has been found in many volcanic regions
all over the world, including parts of Italy and the Hawaiian Islands.
Some of the world’s finest quality peridots are mined in Myanmar. The
world’s most prolific source of peridot is the San Carlos Native
American Reservation in Arizona. Other sources include China, Brazil and
There are no treatments commonly used to enhance peridot.
Peridot does not react well to heat. Avoid sudden temperature changes.
Peridot should never be cleaned with a steam cleaner or an ultrasonic
cleaning machine. Peridot can be cleaned with most any commercial
jewelry cleaner or plain soap and water using a soft brush. Be sure to
rinse and dry your jewelry thoroughly after cleaning.
Photo: Robert Weldon,
Professional Jeweler Magazine © 2002-2005 Jewelers of America