August Birthstone: Peridot
The earliest finds we know of were in Egypt and it is rumoured to have been Cleopatra’s favourite gem. One look at this cheerful green gem and you’ll see why. The bright green gem is also known as “evening emerald” and in ancient times, it was often confused with the better known green emerald.
This lesser known olive green gem Peridot is formed deep in the earth's mantle and comes to the surface through volcanic action at different points across the globe. Although it is formed under similar conditions as diamonds, its characteristics are quite different. Peridot's crystal structure is made up of Iron and Magnesium and only comes in shades of grassy green to olive green.
The gem has a medium hardness and crystal clear gems are common, though often you will find lily-pad shaped inclusions - a great way to identify the gem. It's waxy lustre and strong doubling effect gives it a luxuriant sleepy look, perfectly reflecting warm summer days spent making daisy chains.
Large strongly coloured Peridot is rare can command quite a price. Most quality Peridot is found in sizes smaller than 2 carats. As it is not a hugely well-known gem, prices remain quite reasonable.
Interestingly, peridot has also been found in rare meteorites called Pallasites. Formed in outer space they consist of centimetre-sized olivine crystals of peridot quality in an iron-nickel matrix. Not enough material has been recovered to make pallasites comercially available for making jewellery, but many museums have sample slices of pallasite in their collections.
Regardless of its origin, we find the grassy green peridot makes jewellery that is simply out of this world. Perfect gifts for a lucky lady with an August birthday - or just because you love its stellar beauty.
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