One of the world's most extreme gemstones is the peridot. It is a precious gemstone and is formed from the mineral olivine. What makes peridot so unique is that it is one of the only gems in the world that is found in molten rock of Earth's upper mantle, rather than the crust. While in today's times Peridot is mostly known as a birthstone for August, it has a rich and ancient history. This is one of the main reasons along with its rich, vibrant color, and excellent value, why peridot has maintained popularity throughout the years.
Peridot is a variety of the mineral olivine, and derives its vibrant green color from the presence of the trace element iron. The color of peridot can range anywhere from yellowish green to bright green, which is dependent on the levels of iron in the crystal. This range of green hues makes peridot a great choice for jewelry as they are very brilliant while maintaining excellent color saturation. Many who find emeralds too dark or opaque choose peridot as an alternative for their jewelry.
The rich and extensive history behind peridot has established it as a popular choice of gemstone for centuries. It is one of the oldest known gemstones, believed to have first been mined in 1500BC in the Red Sea. Ancient Egyptians called it the "gem of the sun", while medieval Christians used peridots to adorn their religious relics, such as the Shrine of the Three Kings. Much like the red spinel to rubies, peridot has historically been confused and used interchangeably with emeralds. Many famous "emeralds'' throughout history have been found to actually be peridots. There are many historians and geologists who firmly believe that Cleopatra's famous emerald collection is in fact, all peridots. This historical prominence has helped push peridot's popularity into modern times, as people continue to flock towards the rare or unusual.
Despite the rarity and natural beauty of peridot, it still maintains an excellent value. Peridot can easily be found at a fraction of the price of its "twin" the emerald. This price is impressive especially considering the rarity of gem-quality peridot. It is formed in volcanic magma, anywhere between 20 and 50 miles deep beneath the Earth's crust. Since it is formed so deep underground, the only way for peridot to surface is either through tectonic plate movement or a volcanic eruption. While peridot itself is a fairly common mineral, any gem-quality peridot one would find from a jeweler is extremely rare to find. Peridot is a fine choice for those looking for a unique and rare gem to add to their collection without breaking the bank.
On the Mohs scale of hardness, peridot ranks 7 out of 10. While it is not the hardest color gemstone, it is certainly durable enough to be used in everyday jewelry, albeit with just a bit more protection. Peridot has been used in jewelry for thousands of years and has proven to be more than suitable.
Unlike most gemstones, there are no individual grading systems for each quality of a peridot. Rather, there is a singular letter grade for the peridot overall. The basis of this letter grade (A-AAAA) are still the same qualities that nearly all gemstones are judged upon.
Quality of a peridot is predicated on three important factors: color, clarity and transparency.
Color is the most important quality factor for a peridot and is the primary driver of value. General rule is that as color saturation of a peridot increases, the value increases. However, as the peridot color becomes oversaturated and eventually opaque, the price drops substantially. A very light color peridot and an overly dark/opaque peridot will generally command a similar price.
Colored gems do not have a standardized grading system and it is extremely rare to find a peridot with no eye visible imperfections. This is in stark contrast to Diamonds which have a standardized grading system and require magnification to inspect clarity. In the wholesale trade we evaluate peridot clarity using the following methodology:
(1)Holding the peridot face up 12 inches from the observer's eye (2)Tilting the stone in various directions to visually inspect if any inclusions are visible (3)Only imperfections viewable on the crown (top part of the gemstone) are inspected and not the pavilion (back side)
Lapidaries cut peridots according to the shade of the rough material to get the desired color (the primary price driver). Darker material is cut shallower to allow more light to go through the gem, while lighter material is cut deeper to allow the peridot to hold in more light and increase saturation. Cutting peridot is an art and requires years of experience.
The weight of a gemstone is measured in a unit called carats (cts.). There are 5 carats in 1 gram. As discussed above, a peridot can be cut deep or shallow to maximize the color of the peridot. A deep cut 1 carat peridot will appear visually smaller than a 1 carat shallow peridot. For this reason, it is best to judge a peridot based on millimeter measurements (length and width) and not carat weight.
Click here for our Stone Size Chart which you can print to see the actual sizes of various shapes
Click here for our Stone Size Tool where you can input various measurements to see a basic rendering of centerstone sizes relative to your finger - particularly useful if you are planning to mount the gem in a ring.
Please Note: The carat weight listed on the website for pairs is the combined total weight of the two gemstones.
Peridots are mined in various locations around the world. All origins produce both high and low quality gemstones. Currently there is no excess premium for one origin over another. However, peridots from Pakistan and Burma tend to have higher quality deposits.
Currently there are no known accepted peridot treatments or enhancements in the industry. All peridots should be advertised as untreated or with no enhancements. Any treatments applied to peridots are not accepted by reputable jewelers and should be avoided.
Peridots are easy to take care of due to their relative hardness and durability, but will need slightly more attention if set high in jewelry. To keep your peridot jewelry sparkling you may want to clean it to remove the unwanted dirt and residue build up. Here are a few care tips to keep your peridot jewelry clean and shiny.
1) Avoid contact with make-up, harsh chemicals (i.e. chlorine and bleach), moisturizers and abrasives. It is best to take jewelry off when in contact with these items. Never swim or bathe with your jewelry on. It is also best to avoid hard impact activities such as exercising and gardening that may scratch or chip the peridot. 2) Clean your peridot by pouring lukewarm water in a bowl and mixing with mild cleaning detergent. Submerge your jewelry until the dirt and residue are moistened. Then use a soft toothbrush to clean the underside of the peridot. Once clean, rinse and dry with a soft cloth. For extremely dirty jewelry, you may need to repeat the process. 3) Store your peridot jewelry individually and avoid contact with other jewelry to prevent scratching. Keep the peridot away from heat and direct sunlight. For every day rings (such as engagement rings), we recommend a weekly rudimentary check to ensure the center gem is not loose. Take off the ring and shake it next to the ear (can also tap) and see if you hear rattling. If you do, immediately stop wearing it and get it tightened. 4) We highly recommend an annual maintenance of your peridot jewelry to have the gems tightened and jewelry cleaned professionally. This will ensure your jewelry lasts a lifetime. 5) Do not use commercial jewelry cleaners or ultrasonic cleaners for your peridot jewelry.