Once more valuable than diamonds, Peridot(Olivine), a pallasite stone from meteorite, is also known in the bible as Chrysolite, meaning "golden stone". This birthstone for the month of August is often referred to as the "poor man's emerald". Peridot forms in color from light yellow-green to almost vivid green. Peridot may also fade to brown or yellow hues with green overtones. This faded olive color is found more commonly in Italian peridot. The more rich the gem is in green color, the more it is desired. The richness of its green color comes from the amount of iron contained in its structure. An interesting feature of Peridot is that it's double refracting. It splits light in two, which doubles the images that are inside of itself. This can give the stone a sleepy appearance which becomes more prominent in larger stones.
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A relatively inexpensive and affordable gem, peridot's larger, more saturated stones come from Pakistan and may be beautifully carved. Lighter colored pieces are often concave faceted, shaped into briolettes, or formed into other styles of beads, which can be a little more pricey. Basic fine quality 5ct to 10ct peridot, in normal faceted shapes, can are anywhere from $60 per ct to $120 per ct. Larger stones, 10ct to 20ct, range from $170 to $300 per ct, with values decreasing for stones over 50cts.
While most most modern peridot that is used for jewelry making comes from volcanic flow in Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii, Pakistan, Burma, Norway and China. The history of peridot is said to have started on an island in the Red Sea. This island, once called Topazion, then St. John's is now called Zabargard, which is the Arabic word for peridot.
The English word for peridot is said to have come from the arabic word Faridat, meaning gem, or the French peritot, meaning unclear. The correct pronunciation, per-i-doe, was taken from the French. Peridot is said to have been mined on Zabargard as early as 1500 BC, up until possibly the 1940's, but didn't begin to be seen in the US until the 1890's.
One Egyptian legend states that Cleopatra loved peridot and that some of her emeralds were in fact actually peridot. It also tells us that the ancient priests drank soma from goblets carved of large peridot which put them closer to the goddess, Isis. Another legend states that Peridot cups were the original financing of the logs for the Great Pyramids at Giza. The cups were purchased by King Solomon,in exchange for the wood. Drinking soma from these cups provided King Solomon with great wisdom.
Additional Reading:Gemstones, by Christine Woodward
Breathtaking color photos capture the glistening beauty of gemstones from around the world--stones used for jewelry and magical rites as far back as 20,000 years ago. Published in cooperation with the British Museum of Natural History.
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Healing the Heart: Opening and Healing the Heart with Crystals and Gemstones, by Daya Sarai Chocron
Complete instructions for working with meditation and silence, breathing and visualization, healing gemstones and color, laying crystals and gemstones on the heart, solar plexus and throat chakras to clear away blockages. Chocron suggests other ways of opening to help you meld the relationship between the spiritual, emotional, and physical planes.
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