Peridot is a gemstone variety of the mineral olivine. It forms during
volcanic eruptions and its color ranges from yellowish green to dark lime-green.
Brownish versions are found, but are not as desirable. Peridot is the birthstone
for August. Peridot is a green gemstone that is as popular for jewelry today as
it was in the past. Peridot is a beautiful gemstone in its own right and is
widely popular. Its popularity is said to be increasing yearly and with new
finds in Pakistan producing exceptionally well crystallized specimens, peridot
can be fun to collect for years to come.
Peridot is usually closer to forsterite than fayalite in composition although iron is the coloring agent for peridot gemstone. Gem quality peridot derived from the ancient source of Zagbargad (Zebirget) Island in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt; Mogok, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma); Kohistan, Pakistan; Minas Gerais, Brazil; Eifel, Germany; Chihuahua, Mexico; Ethiopia; Australia; Peridot Mesa, San Carlos Apache Reservation, Gila County, Arizona and Salt Lake Crater, Oahu, Hawaii, USA but the best quality peridot has historically come either from Myanmar or Egypt. The Arizona gem material is of lesser quality, but it is far more abundant and is therefore much more affordable. An estimated 80 - 95% of all world production of peridot which comes from Arizona.
Peridot origin, price and valueThe Myanmar, Pakistani and Egyptian gems are rarer and of better quality and thus quite valuable approaching the per carat values of top gemstones. There is also some rare peridot gemstone; the most unusual peridot is that which comes from iron-nickel meteorites called pallasites. Some are actually facetted and set in jewelry. The Greeks and Romans referred to peridot as topazion and topazius respectively and this name was later given to topaz, to end the confusion with the two gems.
There is lot of confusion in peridot identification. Many "emeralds" of royal treasures have turned out to be peridots. Although peridot is distinctly a different shade of green, many jewelers coated to peridot as "evening emerald". Other green gemstones always confused with peridot include apatite (which is much softer); green garnets (have no double refraction), green tourmaline and green sin halite (both of which are strongly pleochroic), moldavites (no double refraction) and green zircon (significantly heavier). All of these gemstones rarely have as nice a yellow component to their green color as does most peridot, but darker green peridot can be confusing when good crystal form is not discernible. Buy best quality of peridot.