PERIDOTS: AUGUST'S BEAUTIFUL BIRTHSTONE

Rough Peridot

Happy August, everyone!

August's birthstone is the lovely Peridot! 

Peridots are on my shortlist of favorite semi-precious gemstones! Their Apple-Green color is rich and warm and screams that we are deep into the warmer summer months - but they can be a rich complement to your traditional holiday season greens and lucky St. Patty's day green as well! 

I just love Peridots!

Fosterite-Olivine: By Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10478407The Apple-Green beauty has a wonderful history and dates back to 1500 BC. In fact, the Peridot is thought by some to be the true gemstone of Cleopatra, not the emerald! Egyptians call the Peridot the "Gem of the Sun" as it is directly associated with light. Thought to help ward off nightmares and offer protection from evil spirits, the Peridot is created by the earth deep below its surface (about 20-55 miles down) and brought to the light via volcanoes and tectonic movement. 

This magnificent 130.60-carat antique cushion-cut peridot displays the gem's finest attributes: a medium-toned, highly saturated yellowish green hue and high clarity. Courtesy GIATheir color ranges from pale apple green to a rich and saturated pure green. Often call the poor-man's emerald, their green spans a range of yellow-green to green but the yellow disappears in artificial light and looks simply green, sometimes passing as a light emerald. Peridots can also be brown, though these are considered of lesser quality. Often times the best color comes from the largest of stones that are able to catch the light yet have the amount of material to add to the saturation of color by sheer thickness.

Seen here: This magnificent 130.60-carat antique cushion-cut peridot displays the gem's finest attributes: a medium-toned, highly saturated yellowish green hue and high clarity. Courtesy GIA

Peridot Lily Pad Inclusions. Source: GIAPeridots are a "Gemmy" clear crystalline version of Olivine. Olivine can be found in many volcanic locations around the world, but only the clear and bright varieties of Olivine can be considered Peridot. Peridots have very interesting internal inclusions often called "Lily Pads" because of their disk like appearance. These inclusions are formed by a tiny crystal inside of the parent gemstone that then causes a tiny stress fracture that spreads out in a little disk shape and sometimes can appear darker than its surroundings. While it is most common in the grading system to lower the value of the Peridot with the appearance of these inclusions with the naked eye, I personally believe that sometimes they can give some visual interest to the stone and shouldn't immediately be thrown aside.  

 

Green Sands in Hawaii! By Tomintx - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41097837

Green Olivine Sand in Hawaii

About 80% of the world's supply of this luscious beauty comes from Arizona these days. but can also be found in New Mexico, Vietnam, Burma, Russia, China and Pakistan. And Olivine can be found in many volcanic locations like Hawaii! There is even a beach on the big island of Hawaii called Papakōlea Beach which has green sands made of Olvine! 

Panoramic view of the Papakōlea Beach as seen from the green sands on the beach. By Natarajanganesan - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62220516

ChakrasPeridot's use as a talisman has a great history. Aside from offering protection, this stone is believed to cleanse the liver and gall bladder, clears the heart chakra, heals bruised egos, and clears one of negative emotions and blocks towards verbal articulation making it a great stone for those who endure anxiety and cloudy thinking during public speaking. 

It is around a 6.5-7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale and can easily be set in silver and gold, though gold sets off the yellow undertones in the stone so much better and really brings out the rich natural color of the stone! 

 

Famous Peridots:

The Habsburg Peridot Parure complete with Tiara!

The Habsburg Peridot Parure complete with Tiara

 This magnificent Parure is a full set including necklace, earrings, brooch and tiara, set with massive Peridots and gobs of diamonds. These pieces were said to be created around 1825 with its first owner being the Archduchess Henriette of Austria. The set was passed down through family to be owned by Princess Isabella of of Croÿ, the sets most iconic wearer. She was painted and photographed wearing the set at the coronation of Emperor Charles I of Austria-Hungary in 1916.

 

 Princess Isabella of Croÿ Princess Isabella of Croÿ - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Princess_Isabella_of_Cro%C3%BF.jpg

  Above: Princess Isabella von Croy-Dülmen wearing the Habsburg Peridot Parure in 1916 at the coronation of Emperor Charles I of Austria-Hungary. Both painted and photographed.

The set would later be sold upon Isabella's husbands passing and would change hands again until 2001 when Fred Leighton would acquire the pieces, loaning part of the set to Joan Rivers to wear them to the Golden Globe Awards Ceremony in 2004, and part of the set would again be sold in 2011 for a sum of around $170,000. To this day no one is sure what has happened to the Tiara.

The largest Peridot…..

Peridot Gemstone Suite via The Smithsonian

The largest Peridot currently on record is housed in the Smithsonian and is recorded at 311 carats. Shown here with a suite of beautifully colored Peridots in the same collection, the massive 311 carat beauty is show in in the center of this collection. It was found in Egypt.

 The Pearl and Peridot Hair Comb: Gift of American Gem Society in 1989.This object was designed by Aldo Cipullo and made by B.A. Ballou & Co.

Pearl and Peridot Hair Comb: Photo by Ken Larsen for the Smithsonian. Gift of American Gem Society in 1989. This object was designed by Aldo Cipullo and made by B.A. Ballou & Co.

This piece isn't so much famous by famous name, but because it lives in the Smithsonian Museum in Indiana in an exhibit called  “American Gemstone Jewelry Collection.” It is a 31-piece exhibit designed "help increase Americans’ understanding and appreciation of native gemstones" Peridots are found in Arizona, Hawaii, and New Mexico in the USA.


I hope you've had fun learning about this bright a cheery gemstone! Have a great month, Fireflies!

~Ginger

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