The birthstone for August is peridot, and it is one of the most underrated gemstones around, despite having splendid characteristics as a gem. We’re going to show you that peridot is just like rubies and sapphires, and it deserves a place in people’s collections, too.
The largest recorded peridot so far is over three hundred carats and weighed 62.3 grams.
This giant was unearthed in Egypt and is now proudly showcased by the Smithsonian in the United States. Another giant that weighs 192.75 carats is similarly housed in Russia. The third placer weighs 146 carats and can be found in the Geological Museum in England.
Just for context, it is sporadic to find jewelry that has gemstones with over 5 carats, so anything above this will fetch a high price. Large gemstones tend to cost millions of dollars per piece, so these are usually purchased by museums, trusts, and other estates that can afford them.
Peridot was assigned a birthstone month by the American National Association of Jewelers more than fifty years ago. Peridot, like other gemstones, is said to have spiritual or metaphysical properties. It is said that the yellow-green color of the gemstone links peridot to confidence, nature, youthfulness, renewal, and so on.
Peridot is also the gemstones of Leos or those born between July 23 and August 22. Peridot is also the gemstone of Virgos, who are born between August 23 and September 22. As for anniversaries, peridot is the official gemstone for the sixteenth anniversary of married couples. It is the recommended gemstone for this celebration.
Types of Peridot
Peridot has two varieties: fayalite and fosterite. Fayalite was first discovered in the Azores, at the Fayal Island. It does not occur regularly in nature but can be synthesized. Fayalite is generally mined from olivine minerals that have iron content.
Fayalite is generally described as brittle, with imperfect cleavage, and a conchoidal fracture. It can be reddish-brown sometimes, or pale yellow with tints of orange. Light dispersion is weak, and it has biaxial optical characteristics. It retains the vitreous or resin-like luster of common peridot.
The second variant of peridot is forsterite, which was named after an English collector named Adolarius Forster. Instead of iron, forsterite contains abundant magnesium inclusions at the chemical level. Forsterite can be yellow-green, white, or even colorless deepening on the species.
It has a neutral color profile, and all its physical characteristics are identical to peridot. The only apparent difference is the inert color and the quality of the color because of the higher amount of magnesium in the gemstone.
Where are Peridots found?
Peridot is commonly mined from ultramafic rocks, plutonic rocks, and sometimes, in pegmatite.
Carbonaceous rocks can also be a site for their mining, as well as metamorphic rocks with rich iron content. The first mine that provided commercial quantities of peridot is located in Zabargad or St. John Island in Egypt.
However, due to extensive mining, peridot deposits here have been wiped out since the nineties.
Fortunately, additional mining operations have increased the supply of peridot worldwide; we now have peridot coming in from places like China, Myanmar, and Afghanistan. Peridot from several decades ago tended to be cloudy.
The ones that we can see now in the market are nearly flawless thanks to advances in how gemstones are processed. Additional sites of peridot mining are the Naryn Region of Kyrgyzstan, the Oromia Region of Ethiopia, the Mandalay Region of Myanmar, the More og Romsdal of Norway, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan, the Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka and the state of Arizona in the United States.
Improvements in the processing are necessary because gemstones like peridot are not very hard, and they can sometimes burst when exposed to significant physical stresses.
Peridot is also not the kind of gemstone that you’d like to expose to rapid or extreme changes in temperature and the likes. Do not bang your peridot as it can chip or fracture, and unfortunately, peridot also cannot be cleaned with ultrasonic devices. Peridot is not typically enhanced, and because of the rarity of peridot, you won’t find more massive stones in the market. There are some simulants of peridot.
For example, yellow-green tourmaline has been used as a peridot simulant. Ordinary glass has also been manufactured to simulate this gemstone. However, it would be reasonably easy to determine the faux one by taking a look at how it reflects light. Glass simulants can only reflect light singly. In contrast, gems like peridot will naturally reflect light from various angles. The optical characteristics of naturally occurring gemstones are usually superior to just glass.
But then again, peridot is not the only gemstones that can burst from high physical stress, and many other gemstones cannot even be cleaned with water. It’s just how things work when you use minerals as ornamentation or jewelry, and we still think that peridot is an excellent addition to any jewelry collection, especially when you are celebrating your sixteen wedding anniversary.
Peridot is also considered a day emerald and night emerald because it can showcase its pure color even at night with just artificial lighting. While it does not have the multifaceted nature of alexandrite, for instance, it is still naturally beautiful and can hold its own again more expensive gemstones like sapphires or emeralds.
Another benefit of choosing peridot is its price: peridot is inexpensive and cheap to produce and can withstand different kinds of cuts of many types of jewelry. Whether you are looking for beautiful rings or even peridot-crusted bracelets, there is always something for folks who want to try something new.
How much are they worth?
Peridot is one of the most affordable gemstones at $50 to $80 per carat. This average refers only to gems that are up to two carats in size. The price of peridot jumps to the league of the likes of alexandrite when the number of carats increases. For example, top quality peridot above the two-carat range can easily fetch $400 to $450 per carat.