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PERIDOT GEMSTONE HISTORY & FOLK LORE

Peridot gemstone has been around for a very long time, and a gemstone which has regained its popularity again today. It can be found in Egyptian jewelery from the early 2nd millennium B.C.. The gemstones used at that time came from a deposit on a small volcanic island now known as St. Johns Island in the Red Sea, some 45 miles off the Egyptian coast at Aswan, which was not relocated until about 1900 and the peridot supply has since been exhausted. That being said, the peridot is also a thoroughly modern gemstone.A few years ago peridot deposits were located in the Kashmir region; and the stones from those deposits, being extremely beautiful and transparent, have succeeded in giving a good polish to the image of the peridot gemstone, which had paled somewhat over the centuries.

In the mid 1990's the interest in Peridot increased dramatically.  This was because in 1994 a spectacular deposit of the finest peridots was found in Pakistan at an altitude of over 13000 feet. In the tough conditions at this altitude, mining was only possible during the summer months. These stones were finer than anything that had ever been seen before. And the deposits were so plentiful that the demand for peridots can, for the time being,  now be satisfied. 

In order to emphasise the special quality of the peridots from Pakistan, these stones are offered as 'Kashmir peridots', following the famous Kashmir sapphires. The most beautiful stones come from the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, the peridot as a gemstone also exists in Myanmar, China, the USA, Africa and Australia. Stones from East Burma, now known as Myanmar, have a vivid light green and fine inclusions with a silky shine to them. Peridot from Arizona, where it is popularly used in native American jewellery, often has somewhat yellowish or gold-brown nuances.

Thanks to the rich finds in Pakistan and Afghanistan, there is enough raw material on the market, so the 'right stone' can now be found to cater for each individual taste and each pocket. Large, transparent stones of an intense color are, however, rare and correspondingly expensive. The peridot is a gemstone that you should definitely get to know better. Its fine pistachio to olive green is the perfect complement to a fresh, light summer wardrobe.

This gemstone has no fewer than three names: 'peridot', 'chrysolite', from the Greek 'gold stone', and 'olivine', for the peridot is the gemstone form of the mineral olivine. In the gemstone trade it is called 'peridot', derived from the Greek word 'peridona', which means something like 'to give richness'. 

The peridot is one of the few gemstones which come in one color only. The rich, green color with the slight tinge of gold is caused by very fine traces of iron. From a chemical point of view, peridot is an iron magnesium silicate. The intensity of the color depends on the amount of iron actually present. Peridot ranges in color from light yellow-green to the intense bright green of new grass to olive. Because of the way peridot splits and bends the rays of light passing through it, it has a velvety, "sleepy" appearance - a shining rich glow, and a slightly greasy luster. 

Peridot is not particularly hard - only 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale - but it is easy to look after and fairly robust. Peridot cat's eyes and star peridot are particularly rare and precious.

The peridot adds a wonderful variant to the color spectrum of green gemstones. Increasingly, it is processed not only to one-offs, but also for use in series jewelery. And since the world of fashion is just in the process of rediscovering its love for the color green, the popularity of this rich green gemstone is also very much on the increase. The purer green a peridot is, the higher the value. Any tinge of brown greatly diminishes the price as well as visible flaws.

Peridot is thought to bring the wearer good luck, peace, and success,. Its powers include health, protection, and sleep. The advantages of peridot are to attract love and calm anger while also soothing nerves and dispelling negative emotions.Known by the ancient Egyptians as the gem of the sun, peridot has enjoyed a mystical reputation with its alleged powers including: warding off anxiety, enhancement of speech articulation, and success in relationships and marriage.

Hawaiian natives believe peridot is the goddess Pele's tears, while biblical references to the stone include the high priest's breastplate - studded with a stone for each of the twelve tribes of Israel, one being peridot.  Cleopatra reportedly had a fine collection of "emerald" jewelry, which was really peridot but it was the Ottoman Sultans who gathered the largest collection during their 600-year reign from 1300-1918, with an impressive array of both loose gem stones as well as peridot earrings, peridot rings and other peridot jewelry.  Powdered peridot has been used to cure asthma and a peridot placed under the tongue of someone in the grip of a fever will lessen their thirst.  Legend has it that drinking from a peridot goblet can increase the potency of medicines.  Pirate´s believed peridot had the power to drive away evil spirits (and the night´s terrors), especially if set in gold. But as protection from evil spirits it must be pierced, strung on donkey hair and worn on the left arm. 

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