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Peridot - The Official New Zealand Guide

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

The name Peridot is French and derives from the Greek word Peridona, meaning to 'bestow wealth'. Peridot is exclusively green and ranges from yellowish green to the most prized vivid green, comparable to the top-quality emerald hue. In addition, peridot rates at 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it durable enough for everyday wear.


Peridot is iron magnesium silicate, an idiochromatic gem, and its hue depends on the amount of iron it contains. The higher the level of iron, the more intense the green. Formed deep within the Earth in the fiery magma of the upper mantle, Peridot crystals are forced to the Earth's surface through tectonic activity and volcanic eruptions.


Widely considered one of the oldest documented gemstones, records indicate that the first discoveries of Peridot were made on the volcanic Island of Topazo (now Zabargad Island), located in the Red Sea. According to folklore, the island's inhabitants mined Peridot, then referred to as 'the gem of the sun' around the clock for Pharaoh's treasury.


Egyptian queen Cleopatra was fond of precious green gemstones and kept an extensive collection of emeralds. It was later considered that her collection was most probably Peridot. This visual similarity to emerald has historically resulted in several other high-profile cases of mistaken identity. For example, the impressive 200-carat green gemstones adorning a shrine in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral were long believed to be emerald, only to be established more recently that they are Peridot.


Peridot is the birthstone of August. Zodiac sign Leo dominates the month of August, and this being a fire element, encompasses the qualities of hot and dry, conjuring the environment that Peridot is formed and found. This symbolism, alongside Peridot's vibrant and dazzling green hue, makes it the perfect companion gemstone for Leo's, who have a reputation for being lovers of the lime-light. Additionally, Peridot is the gemstone representing the 16th wedding anniversary, making a beautiful gift choice to mark this occasion.


To this day, Peridot is the national gemstone of Egypt, reflective of the long and storied history the country shares with this green gemstone. More recently, in 1994, significant deposits were discovered in Pakistan, and these newly established mines sourced the highest quality Peridot ever found. Other important sources for Peridot are Myanmar, USA and China. Interestingly Peridot has even been discovered on meteorites that impacted the Earth from space!


Gemma at The Sapphire Merchant works closely with a gemstone dealer based in Pakistan who supplies attractive Peridot options from the famous Supat Mine located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan. A range of Peridot options can also be found in our online store. To discuss Peridot options contact Gemma today.






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