Peridot: The August Birthstone, The Olive Green Miracle
The olive green crystal is a magnesium-rich variety of olivine. The Olive green color of this gemstone comes from the iron contents within the structure of the gem.
Peridot is made in silica-deficient rocks such as volcanic basalt and pallasite meteorites. It is one of only two gems observed to be formed not in the Earth’s crust, but in molten rock of the upper mantle. Gem-quality peridot is rare to find on Earth's surface due to its susceptibility to weathering during its transportation from deep within the mantle to the surface.
On the Mohs scale of hardness, peridot ranks 6.5 to 7 out of 10, making it a softer gemstone. However, this can still be used in jewelry worn on a day-to-day basis. Taking care of your peridot jewelry, however, requires a little extra care.
Olivine, of which peridot is a type, is a common mineral in mafic and ultramafic rocks, often found in lavas and in peridotite xenoliths of the mantle, which lava carries to the surface; however, gem-quality peridot occurs in only a fraction of these settings. Peridots can also be found in meteorites.
These gemstones can be differentiated by size and composition. Peridot formed as a result of volcanic activity tends to contain higher concentrations of lithium, nickel, and zinc than those found in meteorites.
The principal source of peridot olivine today is the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona. It is also mined at another location in Arizona, and in Arkansas, Hawaii, Nevada, and New Mexico at Kilbourne Hole, in the US, and in many more locations around the world.
Some Facts about Peridot
1. Peridot is derived from the mineral olivine. Historically, this gemstone was referred to as Olivine. Another name for Peridot is chrysolite.
2. Since 1912, Peridot has been used as the official birthstone for the 8th month of the year – August, along with Sardonyx.
3. Miners have to dig really deep to find Peridot. It is usually buried deep under the igneous rocks, especially in areas where there have been volcanic eruptions.
4. According to the Oxford Dictionary, Peridot derives its name from the alteration of Anglo-Norman pedoretés, a kind of opal, rather than the Arabic word ‘faridat’ which means gem.
5. Peridot is believed to be one of the oldest gemstones used in jewelry. Ancient Egyptians have been using the gemstone as early as 1500 B.C. The Egyptians called these green stones the ‘gems of the sun’. During that period, Peridot was mined only from the Egyptian island of Topazios.
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