Peridot, the mesmerizing birthstone of August, has been admired for its splendor since the ancient times. This gem is a variety of the mineral olivine and is formed deep within the mantle of the earth. It is brought to the surface by volcanic activity. As fascinating as it may sound, peridots have also been found in pallasite meteorites that contain remnants of our solar system’s birth.
The ancient Egyptians bestowed upon it the title “gem of the sun” because of the exhilarating color it displays when placed in natural daylight. It was also considered to be one of Cleopatra’s favorite gemstones with several sources even suggesting that some of the emeralds adorned by her were in fact, peridots.
According to legends, finding a peridot during the day was not an easy task. However, this gemstone’s glistening green hue could be spotted in the night with the help of a lamp. Soon it became a practice to mine for peridots only after sunset. This also led to the Romans calling the gemstone the “evening emerald”.
The beauty of a peridot can be majorly attributed to its lustrous olive green hue. It also happens to be one of the few gemstones that occurs only in one color. Idiochromatic in nature, a peridot derives its hue from the basic chemical composition rather than traces of impurities. Although found in just one color, peridot stones do vary in intensity and shade, depending on the amount of iron in their structure.
Currently, this gem is mined in various areas of Burma, Norway, Arizona, Hawaii and the islands of the Red Sea, among others. A discovery of the finest peridot stone made in Pakistan, in the early 1990s, has ensured that this gem is still readily accessible in an assortment of shapes and sizes.