Peridot – August Birthstone

Published by Chantelle on

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The month of August has a unique gemstone dedicated to it: the gemstone Peridot. Peridot is the August birthstone – considered to be lucky for people born in the month of August. This gem is one of the only stones that come in a lime green colour that is so visually pleasing. With its hints of yellow that shine through, Peridot is truly a star gem. Peridot is gem quality beautiful Olivine which would otherwise be too dark or included for jewellery.Peridot gems with modern cutsDerived from the Greek word “Peridona” which decodes to a “kind of richness”, Peridot was used in the jewellery from the time of the early Egyptians. Known in India as पेरीडोट, this stone is Leo’s gemstone, which is the sign of the Lion.

Perfectly describing the rich hues of the gem, Peridot is also known to be the “Emerald of the Evening” as coined by the ancient Romans because of its constant colour in different lighting conditions. Green stones are recognised world over to up your luck and prosperity and can also bring money into your life. That should be enough reason why you should be wearing a green coloured natural gemstone.

Stones seen at the display at the Natural History Museum in London

Above is an image of the various colour ranges that Peridot is found in. It ranges from a golden green to a brownish green body colour. Peridot is chemically made up of magnesium, iron, silicon and oxygen which mingle in perfect harmony and absorb most of the warm colours from the visible spectrum leaving behind what you see as the yellowish green colours distinctive of the gem. Its characteristic colour is brought about by the element Iron, which is present in its chemical composition. Known to the Egyptians as the “Gems from the sun”, Peridot can still demand high prices in good strong colours.

Peridot nodule in its rough form

Peridot nodule in its rough form

Peridot Rough

Peridot Rough

This gem is brought to the earth’s surface as volcanic eruptions bring Peridot up through the fire hot magma. Peridot forms as small nodule crystals in magma pockets deep under the earth’s crust. This is the main reason why Peridot is generally found in volcanic areas like Brazil, Mexico, Australia and Hawaii, where the gem is also considered to be the tears of the goddess of fire and volcanoes : Goddess Pele.

goddess of Hawaii Volcanoes

Goddess of Hawaii Volcanoes

Strange as it may sound Peridot has also been found in meteorites and has been found on planet Mars. That’s right Peridot is an extra-terrestrial gemstone! Identified on the surface of Mars by NASA’s global surveyor, this gem has earned an international reputation for its rarity.

The image below is from the Esquel pallasite meteorite that fell in Argentina. As you can see, the green portions are olivine crystals with smaller inlays of Peridot in an iron matrix from outer space.

Picture of the Matrix from the Esquel Pallasite

Picture of the Matrix from the Esquel Pallasite

At KuberBox we interact with gemmologists all the time and they are constantly telling us about the wonderful world of gemstones. Stones with inclusions that cannot be replicated anywhere. This is what has built our interest in stones and inclusions and through this blog we will take you inside the Peridot.

Peridot is a double refractive stone with an RI at 1.65 to 1.69, which means it takes a single ray of light and breaks it into two rays. This gives the visual effect of doubling of facet junctions and inclusions or anything within the gem, which under magnification can be seen quite clearly. When doubling is seen, it instantly excludes Peridot simulants like glass and plastic, which are singly refractive in nature.

This image of the 146.10ct Peridot in the Natural History Museum clearly shows doubling

Peridot cut stone 146.1 ct.

Did you know within this golden green gem are inclusions that resemble lily pads similar to that of the water lily. These lily pad inclusions are characteristic of the Peridot and cannot be seen in any other gemstone. They form as liquid inclusions get pressed within, during growth. As we have already mentioned, the stone shows doubling and these inclusions also appear in doubles because of the high refractive index.

 

Lily Pad inclusions seen in Peridot

Lily pad inclusions like these were seen in all of the Vietnamese peridots examined from Lam Dong and Gia Lai Provinces.

Another typical Peridot inclusion is the chromite crystals. These black crystals stand out within the gem and can bring the value of the stone down considerably when in an obvious location. These black chromite crystals are generally regular cubes and tend to have stress cracks around it, which are called tension halos. These halos are caused because of the stress during growth.

Chromite crystals with its stress cracks

Chromite inclusions in peridot

The stone’s hardness has been ranked at 6.5 on the Moh’s Scale and is a hence a relatively soft stone, which can be scratched easily. This means when used in jewellery Peridot must either be set in a closed setting style that is not prone to damage or must be buffered by other stones/ gold to protect it. Diamonds being the hardest gem can easily scratch Peridot, which is why jewellers should be weary about setting styles and patterns. Peridot when in jewellery that needs resizing or repair could become an issue, as the gem is sensitive to heat from a jeweller’s torch. The heat may cause liquid inclusions to expand which could change the physical appearance of the stone entirely.

In this Peridot you can see the heat has caused the inclusion to expand, reducing the value

In this Peridot you can see the heat has caused the inclusion to expand, reducing the value

 

During Cleopatra’s time, her famous Emerald collection is thought to actually be Peridot, which was easily confused in those times without advanced gemmological identification. Another famous Peridot that was mistaken to be Emerald is the large Peridot on the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in the cathedral at Cologne.

The Shrine of the Three Holy Kings

The Shrine of the Three Holy Kings

Peridot is a beautiful yet timeless gemstone and should be part of your jewellery collection. The gems colour is complemented perfectly by the warm golden hues of the gold and the cool colours of silver or white gold. Look out for our new collection, which will incorporate Peridot as a primary gemstone in our irreplaceable designs.

References

http://www.gia.edu/peridot#gem-overview
http://www.americangemsociety.org/august-birthstones
http://www.amazon.com/Pele-Volcanoes-Herb-Kawainui-Kane/dp/0943357012
http://www.gia.edu/peridot-history-lore
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Avatar of Chantelle

Chantelle

Chantelle Lobo grew up in Mumbai, a city bursting with color, culture and creativity, and while exploring its many hidden gems her curiosity drew her towards the fascinating world of diamonds and gemstones. At the age of seventeen, her keen eye for detail quickly fell in love with the detailed story of each gem’s inclusions and individuality and that is where her career journey with these timeless beauties began. Trained with the best at the Gemological Institute of America, Chantelle is both an Accredited Jewelry Professional and a Graduate Gemologist. She has experience with all varieties of gemstones and has professionally undertaken assignments to grade diamonds and color grade gems. This has given her a strong foundation in this niche field and allows her to make key observations on the value or quality of each gemstone. Her passion is undeniable and in order to broaden her horizons, she travels to many countries, visiting jewelry shows, jewelers, and gem traders, picking up some of the best-guarded trade secrets. From Spinels on the busy streets in Myanmar to the best Sapphires in Sri Lanka and even rare Jades from China, she continues to fuel her deep-rooted interest for these special stones by seeking out precious one-of-a-kind gems around the world. She now lives in Jaipur, one of the largest gemstone hubs of the world marvelling at the gems that pass through her on a daily basis. Through her blog “The Gemstone Queen”, Chantelle explores & documents her trysts with gems and jewellery.

2 Comments

Avatar of Augustine

Augustine · August 12, 2015 at 9:11 pm

August birthstone Peridot is also said to assist in solving of marital problems. It is one of the most beautiful gemstones. Unfortunately, it is lesser known stone.

Avatar of Ananthi Mathur

Ananthi Mathur · August 21, 2015 at 11:06 am

Peridot is also known as POOR MAN’S EMERALD and it symbolises growth, love and dignity!

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