Peridot, also called precious olivine, is a gem-quality transparent green olivine. The crystals of peridot have a vitreous lustre and conchoidal fracture. Gem-quality olivine is a mineral that composes a lot of the earth's mantel, the layer below the crust. It is also common in basalts on the moon.
Peridot has been adored since ancient times and has been valued for centuries. Peridot was greatly prized by Egyptian Kings. Some of Cleopatra's emeralds were in fact peridots.
The most beautiful stones come from the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, the peridot as a gemstone also exists in Myanmar, China, the USA, Africa and Australia. Stones from East Burma, now known as Myanmar, have a vivid light green and fine inclusions with a silky shine to them. Peridot from Arizona, where it is popularly used in native American jewelry, often has somewhat yellowish or gold-brown nuances.
Properties of Peridot
Peridot is the gem variety of the olivine group, which has the following species: Forsterite, Mg2SiO4 Fayalite, Fe2SiO4
6.5 to 7
Imperfect to distinct in one direction (rarely seen)
3.34 + 0.17, – 0.07
0.035 to 0.038
Orthorhombic; usually occurs as rounded pebbles; well formed crystals are quite rare
Mainly green; sometimes yellow or brown
Weak to moderate, dichroic
Cat’s eye and star peridot are known, but are rare
Never clean peridot ultrasonically.
Not safe in steamer.
The best way to care for peridot is to clean it with warm, soapy water. Avoid exposure to heat, acids and rapid temperature changes
Peridot is not typically enhanced