The word Peridot comes from the Arabic “faridat,” which means “gem.” Most Peridot formed deep inside the earth and was delivered to the surface by volcanoes. Some also came to earth in meteorites, but this extraterrestrial Peridot is extremely rare, and not likely to be seen in a retail jewelry store.
August’s fascinating birthstone may be called the “extreme gem” because it is formed in the most extreme conditions, found in lava, meteorites and deep within Earth’s mantle. Peridot has been found in pallasite meteorites, which contain remnants of our solar system’s birth. The gemstone, however, can commonly be found in lava flows in the United States, China, and Vietnam. Sometimes peridot can be found as large crystals lining veins or pockets in certain types of solidified molten rock in Finland, Pakistan, and Myanmar. Read More Here About Peridots (GIA):
The ancient Egyptians mined Peridot on the Red Sea island of Zabargad, the source for many large fine Peridots in the world’s museums. The Egyptians called it the “gem of the sun. ” Some believed that it protected its owner from “terrors of the night,” especially when it was set in gold.Today this gem is still prized for its restful yellowish green hues and long history. Large strongly-colored, examples can be spectacular, and attractive smaller gems are available for jewelry at all price points.
Early records indicate that the ancient Egyptians mined a beautiful green gem on an island in the Red Sea called Topazios, now known as St. John’s Island or Zabargad. Legend has it that the island was infested with snakes, making mining unpleasant until an enterprising pharaoh drove them into the sea. From the earliest times, people confused this stone—now known to be Peridot—with other gems. It was one of many labeled as “topaz.”
Some historians believe that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection might actually have been Peridot. People in medieval times continued to confuse Peridot with Emerald. For centuries, people believed the fabulous 200-ct. gems adorning the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral were Emeralds. They are, in fact, Peridots.
High-quality Peridots are mined in Egypt, Tanzania, Pakistan, Vietnam, and Myanmar.
The "Stardust" - In 2005 - 2006, Peridot was found in comet dust brought back from the Stardust robotic space probe.
Photos Courtesy of GIA