With its glimmering green hue, peridot has been confused with emerald. Despite this confusion, it has become an attractive stone in its own right, often used in peridot jewellery and other decorative pieces.
Although a perfectly respectable gemstone today, peridot has rubbed shoulders with the great and the good. This is thanks to its aforementioned ability to camouflage itself as an emerald, albeit not through choice. Where precious stones such as diamonds, rubies and emeralds were set into jewellery, crowns and clothing, peridot would also sit sparkling. It is believed that many of Cleopatra's emeralds were peridot!
Why the mistaken identity?
We've already gone through the reasons why peridot is mistaken for emerald, let's look at the reasons for this similar colour. These gems are from completely different families; emerald is a variety of beryl, whereas peridot is actually olivine. Olivine is a silicate mineral, and not actually a mineral. It is rich in magnesium iron, and is a composition of fosterite and fayalite. The levels of iron inherent in the stone dictates the intensity of the green; the more iron, the greener the peridot.
To the naked eye, this does make it harder to tell from its green cousin, but there is a particular quality to the hue that gives it away. Peridot has a tell-tale golden shimmer. The Greeks gave it the name 'the gold stone', and in various parts of the world this yellow shade is more prevalent, sometimes even having brownish-green colour. Unlike many other precious stones, peridot's is always, at its heart, green.
Peridot as a birthstone
Peridot has been assigned as the birthstone for August. The yellow-tinged green colour reflects the height of summer, making it perfect for that time of the year. It is believed to be imbued with ability to enhance faithfulness, love and loyalty, although protection and fame have also been ascribed to the gemstone. When it comes to signs of the Zodiac, peridot is the associated stone for Leo (23rd of July to 22nd of August).
Even with all of the comparisons between peridot and emerald, the former is becoming more and more popular. Demands for peridot are supporting their own industry, with successful mining operations in places as far apart as Pakistan and the USA, including Hawaii and Arizona.
You'll find the incredible golden green sparkling in the most attractive peridot jewellery. The gem has found its way as a precious stone without living in the shadow of the grander emerald.
About the Author
Parris Jewellers has a wide range of stylish pieces including dazzling peridot jewellery.