Jewelry Guide - Gemstones
- Mohs hardness rating: 6.5-7.0
- Found in Australia, Mexico, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Tanzania, China, Burma, Arizona.
Peridot has a fascinating story. It was mined for over 3,500 years and was revered in Egypt as "the gem of the sun," but it was forgotten as a gemstone in the West until the beginning of the twentieth century. Peridot belongs to a family of crystals known in mineralogy as olivine, so named for their olive-green tones.
The gem, which can range in color from deep olive green to neon lime, was first brought to Europe by the Crusaders in the Middle Ages and was popular in the baroque period. Its peaceful green hues have been enduring popular among Native American tribes.
Peridot is found in rocks created by volcanoes. In Hawaiian legend, they are known as the crystal tears of the goddess Pele. In Europe, peridot was used for religious purposes, primarily as a talisman against the evil eye. Legendary powers include its ability to improve eyesight and to repel terror, melancholy, and sorcery. In Russia, there are some cut peridot stones on display that came out of a meteorite that fell in eastern Siberia in 1749.