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The History of Peridot Gemstones

Known for its stunning green hues, peridot is one of the only gemstones to be found in a single color. Most stones can be found in a variety of different colors and can often range from light pink to blue, but peridot boasts the everlasting elegance of green. However, the depth of green is determined by the amount of iron contained in the crystal structure. Peridot’s green hue can range from the rich green of the sea to the lighter color of a freshly fallen leaf. Because of the stone’s variation in color, peridot has often been mistaken for emerald.

Throughout history, peridot has been wrongly classified as emerald countless times. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that Cleopatra’s royal jewels were actually peridot instead of emerald. Although the correct classification of Cleopatra’s jewels remains a mystery, there is no doubt that the history of peridot is irrevocably connected with Egypt.

Considered one of the world’s oldest gems, peridot was discovered as early as 1500 B.C. Records indicate that the first stones were found on Topazo Island (now known as St. John’s) in the Egyptian Red Sea. According to legend, island inhabitants were forced to collect the stones for Pharaoh’s treasury. Supposedly, the islanders were forced to mine for the gem both day and night, and they were able to spot the green gemstone during nighttime purely because of the stone’s beautiful glow. Because of this, Ancient Egyptians referred to the stone as “the gem of the sun.” Today, peridot is the national gem of Egypt.

Both in the past and the present, peridot mining is unique to the stone. The majority of gems are formed in the Earth’s crust. However, peridot is formed much deeper, in the Earth’s mantle. The only other gemstones that are also found in the mantle are diamonds. Even though peridot forms in the upper mantle, it is still found twenty to fifty miles deep. Because it is so deep, the only way for peridot to naturally reach the surface is by tectonic plate activity or volcanoes.

Despite peridot’s ancient past, the stone is primarily known as a birthstone today. People born in August get to claim this unique stone as their own, and in addition to a fascinating history, the gemstone also boasts numerous supposed “powers.” Known for attracting love and peace, peridot is also believed to help ensure a good night’s sleep. Whether you’re looking for a beautiful connection to the past, extra peace, or merely a gorgeous colored gemstone, peridot provides the perfect answer, regardless of the question.