Unique Birthstone Jewelry
Peridot is the modern August birthstone and the gem designated
for the 16th wedding anniversary. See other August
birth stones: Traditional, Contemporary,
Mystical, Ancient, Zodiac and Star signs.
Peridot (pronounced pair-a-dot) is a transparent yellowish-green
Magnesium/Iron Silicate. It is a gem variety of the mineral
Chrysolite or Olivine and its chemical formula is given by:
Peridot ranges in color from light yellow-green to the intense
bright green of new spring grass to olive. Because of the
way peridot splits and bends the rays of light passing through
it, it has a velvety appearance, a rich glow, and a slightly
greasy luster. The purer green a peridot is the higher the
value. Any tinges of brown or visible flaws greatly diminish
The best-colored peridot has an iron percentage of less than
15% and includes nickel and chromium as trace elements.
It is not clear whether the word peridot comes from the Arabic
word faridat, which means gem or if it is derived from the
French word peritot which means unclear. The French were the
first to call this yellow-green stone peridot in the 18th
century. Before then, peridot was known as topaz. Peridot
has been mined as a gemstone for an estimated four thousand
years and is mentioned in the Bible under the Hebrew name
of pitdah. It was used by the Egyptians as early as 1500 BC
and was considered the gem of the sun.
Early miners looked for peridot at night because they believed
that light from the moon made the crystals easier to find.
After marking the locations of the crystals they came back
in the daylight to dig them up.
Gem quality peridot comes from Zagbargad Island in the Red
Sea, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Australia, Brazil,
Germany, Mexico, Pakistan, and Arizona and Hawaii in the USA.
The best quality peridot has historically come either from
Myanmar or Egypt but in 1994 a new deposit of peridot was
discovered in Pakistan which produces some of the finest stones.
This mine is located in the Nanga Parbat region in the far
west of the Himalayan Mountains in the Pakistani part of Kashmir.
Large crystals have been found in this area, one stone was
more than 300 carats.
Most of the world production of peridot comes from Arizona
where there is an abundant source of lessor quality material
while peridot from Myanmar, Pakistan and Egypt is more rare
and finer quality. Price for stones from these areas will
be higher and similar to prices for other top quality colored