Peridot is the gem-quality variety of the mineral olivine has been used as a gemstone for over 3500 years. Historically it was first mined on the volcanic Red Sea island of Zebirget (St. John’s Island) off the coast of Egypt. It is presumed that many of the emeralds in Cleopatra’s fabled emerald collection were indeed peridots from Zebirget. Interestingly, it is one of the few gemstones which only occurs in one colour and it is the only gemstone found in meteorites.
Today peridot is a popular and relatively inexpensive gemstone available in small to mid-sized calibrated shapes and sizes. However, in sizes 3 carats and above the price of peridot quickly increases exponentially so that high quality pieces in larger sized peridot are exceedingly rare. Most people are familiar with the pale-ish green stones seen commonly in jewellery, but fewer people are familiar with the truly beautiful and deep colours of larger, high quality stones. The video of a number of excellent peridots are available to view on our website.
Some well known peridot producing countries are; Pakistan, USA, Myanmar (Burma), China and the original deposits of Zebirget Egypt.
Mohs’ Hardness: 6.5-7
Specific Gravity: 3.30-3.40
Refractive Index: 1.653-1.710
Optic Sign & Character: Biaxial Positive/Negative
ICA Code: N or E
Treatments: Heat treated
Purpose: To lighten colour
Durability: Fair to good
Special Care: Sensitive to heat and acids
Possible Imitations: CZ, synthetic spinel and glass