Although typically thought of as a ‘semi precious’ green stone, I was mesmerized to learn that Peridot has on one hand a truly fiery and ‘out of this world’ origin...literally...and at the same time has associations with a Goddess's tears and green coloured sand!
Peridot - a lime-olive green gemstone - is the birthstone of August and is assigned to the astrological birth sign Leo. It has 2 associations connected to wedding anniversary gifts. Firstly as the alternative stone for a 1st year wedding anniversary and again as the traditional stone for celebrating 16 years married.
As a designer, I am personally more attracted to the hues of blues, pinks and purples so until I did this research, I really only used Peridot where I was trying to bring a green coloured gemstone into a piece of jewellery or at the request of a client.
BUT WOW! Read on to find out the fascinating history and meanings that I discovered about this stone!
From the rarity of how it is formed, to the mysterious Egyptian Island it originates from and its connections to two goddesses. From its fire and sun connections, its power to protect against ALL dark forces and nightmares to its ability to strengthen relationships, calm anger and boost abundance!
I was fascinated to learn that Peridot is ONE of only TWO gems - Diamond being the other - that is NOT formed in the Earth’s crust, but rather in molten rock of the upper mantle. Subsequently, peridot can only be brought to the surface by the extreme forces of earthquakes and volcanoes.
Even more fascinating - other crystals of Peridot are recorded to have extraterrestrial origins and are found in rare ‘pallasite meteorites’ (only 61 known to date) formed some 4.5 billion years ago. Said to be remnants of our solar system’s birth, these forms of Peridot literally caught a ride to Earth on flaming meteorites!
AND...Peridot - in its basic form Olivine - was found in comet dust brought back from the Stardust robotic space probe, has been discovered on the moon, and was detected by instruments from NASA’s Global Surveyor...on Mars!
(Although it should be noted the peridot deposits found in meteorites and space dust are small and not suitable to be made into jewellery - before you ask me to find some, ha ha!)
Peridot is one of the few gemstones that forms in only one color - shades of olive!
Peridot is the ‘gem form’ of the mineral Olivine - which is composed of magnesium iron silicate from the forsterite-fayalite family. The amount of iron within the stones' make-up is responsible for the variations in the different shades of Peridot - the more iron it contains, the deeper the shade of green.
Whilst Olivine itself is an abundant mineral, gem-quality Peridot is said to be rarer, especially within larger stones. Colours of peridot vary from bright yellow-green, lime or pure green, to deep olive or brownish-green - the most valued being a dark olive-green.
There is no known treatment to improve its color or clarity and therefore the gemstones that we buy as peridot, are not heat-treated or enhanced in any way.
Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), recorded what we believe to be the first discovery of Peridot on a small island off the coast of Egypt called ‘Topazios’ in the Red Sea. So Peridot, in its yellow-green form was initially given the name ‘Topazios’, after this island.
Later, the ancients also referred to Peridot as the ‘True Topaz’ - bestowing this name to the gems of Olivine - but this is NOT to be confused with the fluorine-bearing mineral we refer to today as Topaz.
In biblical times, Peridot in its more yellow or golden hues was known as ‘Chrysolite’ - which is Greek for ‘Kreusos’ - meaning gold - and ‘Lithos’ - meaning stone.
Today, the current term ‘Peridot’ is derived from the Arabic word ‘Faridat’ - meaning ‘gem’.
Peridot was mined explicitly for the Egyptian Pharaohs, from the island of Topazios. This mysterious island - thought to be the site of priceless treasures - was so closely guarded, that anyone trying to approach without permission was threatened with death.
In fact it is widely believed that some of Cleopatra’s famous emeralds were in fact Peridots.
Said to be both obscure and inhospitable, the Egyptians held a monopoly on the Island of Topazios for over 3,500 years, after which it was abandoned for centuries. Topazios was only rediscovered around 1905 being renamed St. John’s Island, and later ‘Zabargad’ - an Arabic term for Olivine, or Peridot.
Today we believe that Zabargad (Topazios) is an upthrusted part of the earth’s upper mantle, rather than being a volcanic island. So it is considered to be geologically unique! The island contains three masses of ‘peridotite’, which are rich in the gemstone Peridot.
Whilst Peridot it is currently mined in many parts of the world - Brazil, Canary Islands, Egypt, Ireland, Russia, Sri Lanka and the USA - it is still regarded as the National Gem of Egypt.
In ancient times, it was believed that Peridot was ejected to Earth by a sun’s explosion and therefore carries this sun’s ‘healing power’. Since we have seen that Peridot literally can come from outer space, this belief is not that far from the truth!
The ancients associated Peridot with the sun and the Egyptians actually called it the ‘gem of the sun’. It has been prized since the earliest civilizations for its protective powers to drive away the forces of darkness, particularly night terrors (nightmares) and to keep away evil spirits.
Carried as a charm, Peridot should be set in gold and worn either around the neck or bound to the left arm. This was for protection against sorcery and magic, evil spirits, nightmares, and madness.
Peridot was also worn to cure cowardice, calm anger and ‘brightening the wit’.
Today, Peridot is still celebrated for its ancient meanings as well as being a stone of compassion, it is used to protect the aura, purify the physical and subtle bodies, and to alleviate emotional burdens, guilt and obsessions.
Peridots have a close connection to Hawaiian culture as they are thought to be the tears of the goddess Pele - the creator of the Hawaiian Islands and the goddess of volcanoes and fire.
An interesting association seeing as Peridots can only physically come to the surface through either volcanoes or earthquakes!
Pele - known to have a fiery temperament - cried green tears of Peridot. So much so that one of the beaches in Hawaii is composed of green sand containing Peridot deposits.
Hence Peridot’s are worn for their properties to calm anger.
Going back to ancient times, Peridot’s green colour - reminiscent of foliage - was associated with Isis - the Egyptian goddess of spring, motherhood, magic, and wisdom.
In fact it is said her priests crushed peridots and drank them as a concoction at ceremonies as a way to draw closer to the nature of Isis.
Regarded to be ‘a day stone and a night stone’, Peridot keeps its colour in artificial and duller lighting and is sometimes referred to as an ‘Evening Emerald’.
This association goes back to the Romans who referred to Peridots as ‘emeralds of the evening’ because of the way they continued to sparkle by the light of an evening fire - just like they did during the light of the day’s sun.
Hence they used Peridots as talismans to ward off all evil intentions.
Peridot is said to be a powerful cleanser for both the body and the mind. It is said to release and neutralize toxins and has a tonic effect on the body.
It is said to banish lethargy, can regulate the cycles of life can help with depression.
Peridot is thought to have the power to strengthen the metabolism and benefit the skin. It aids the heart, thymus, lungs, gallbladder, spleen, intestinal tract and ulcers. It strengthens the eyes.
For modern times, if you are finding it hard to release ‘old baggage’, then peridot is the perfect stone to help you stop holding onto people and past influences that no longer serve you. It will help to release negative patterns and old vibrations and will assist in helping you to move forward rapidly.
Peridot is a stone that helps you to bring about change. It assists in helping you look back into the past to find the clarity of those experiences that will allow you to forgive yourself and others. It helps you to admit your mistakes and move on. It allows you to take responsibility for your own life especially when you believe things that happen to you are someone else's fault.
Psychologically, peridot promotes clarity and well-being. It alleviates jealousy, resentment, spite, anger and hence reduces stress.
It enhances confidence and assertion without being aggressive. It motivates growth.
Mentally, peridot is used to sharpen the mind and to allow you to be open to new levels of awareness. It helps you to bring to your attention all the things you have been neglecting both consciously and unconsciously. It frees the mind of envious damaging thoughts.
Wearing peridot can greatly improve difficult or strained relationships.
Said to be a ‘powerful generator of the frequency of increase’, wear Peridot as a talisman to manifest abundance in all areas of one’s life: wealth, health, happiness and love.
A gemstone of the heart chakra, Peridot is credited with strengthening the bonds between lovers.
With its long history for fostering harmony and encouraging clear communication and strengthening relationships, you can see why Peridots are the perfect gemstones to celebrate anniversaries.
Gift a Peridot set in gold, and add in a pearl, to celebrate your 1st wedding anniversary.
Or mix Peridot with Aquamarine and Golden Topaz set in silver to celebrate 16 years together.
I can honestly say that my opinion of this lime-green gem has been forever changed after writing this blog!
It's hard to pick out a favourite part but I totally love how Peridot is born of fire, can come from outer space and is therefore associated with the sun and fire. In particular, the fact that it is said to sparkle just as much in evening light as it does in the sunlight (I did not know that) and was known in ancient times both as the ‘Gem Of The Sun’ and the ‘Evening Emerald’.
Because of this connection to the sun and light, it is the perfect gemstone to wear to protect you against all darkness, evil and nightmares. I also highlight the fact that the ancients believed that Peridot was most powerful set in gold - another connection to the sun, fire and light!