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Peridot – August’s Birthstone

I always think that summery August has an appropriately vibrant gem for it’s birthstone, it is of course Peridot.

The lime-yellowy green colour of peridot is totally distinctive, it’s eye-catching and brightens any piece of jewellery.

Since biblical times peridot has been mined in a remote and mysterious island in the Red Sea now called Zabargad.  This Egyptian island has also been known as St. John’s Island, the Island of Serpents and the Island of Death..not very tourist friendly perhaps? Now peridot is mined mainly in the USA (San Carlos, Arizona) but also from China, Burma, Pakistan and even Norway. It’s unique green colour is due to the colouring agent of iron.

Peridot is a form of Olivine, or Magnesium Iron Silicate. It has a hardness of 6.5 on Moh’s which means it’s a good gemstone for most pieces like earrings and necklaces which aren’t going to get bashed around too much but there must be some care taken if it’s in a ring, for example – cocktail or occasional ring- yes, engagement ring – no!

All natural gemstones can contain inclusions, these are the fingerprints of nature if you will! Peridots can have particularly characteristic inclusions, these are known as ‘lily pads’ as they are circular stress fractures, they can be quite attractive in the right stone.

Every time I make a piece of jewellery using peridot I’m left with the same thought… why don’t I have any? It’s something I feel needs to be remedied.

 

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