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Peridot--The Ancient Gem of the Sun

Peridot, pronounced “pear­-a-doe”, is a stunning bright yellow-green stone from the Olivine family. It serves as the traditional birthstone for people born in August as well as for those born under the zodiac constellation of Leo.

This beautiful gemstone is typically formed deep inside the Earth and is brought to the surface through volcanic activity. However, it holds a unique distinction as the first known gem to have originated from outer space, found in meteorites. Extraterrestrial Peridot is extremely rare, making it a gemstone seldom seen in jewelry stores. While volcanic Peridot is found in locations around the world, Arizona mines are a major source. It is also unique as one of the few gem stones that does not have multiple colors.

On the Mohs hardness scale, Peridot rates between 6.5 to 7, making it suitable for jewelry, though it should be protected from rough wear to maintain its beauty and prevent scratches.

Ancient Egyptians referred to Peridot as the “Gem of the Sun,” due to its golden shimmer. While some historians claim that it is one of the oldest gemstones used in jewelry dating back to the ancient Egyptian times, this idea is a subject of debate and will be explored further in a future blog. Interestingly, there is speculation that Cleopatra’s renowned emerald collection may have actually been comprised of Peridots. Through history people have often confused Peridot with emeralds, even leading Napoleon Bonaparte to gift his wife Josephine with an “emerald” necklace, which was later identified as Peridot.

Over the ages, this gemstone was associated with good health, to the extent that some cultures even drank from Peridot cups. Additionally, it was believed to offer protection from evil spirits or malevolent intentions. In modern times, the yellow-green Peridot is associated with the heart chakra, promoting well being, as well as a bridge to the solar plexus charka representing success, and abundance.

The sign of Leo (July 23 to August 22) is ruled by the Sun--a sign that thrives from being in the light, whether the sunshine, the spotlight or the center of hearts. It is fitting, then, that the Gem of the Sun, the Peridot, would be a natural complement to individuals born under this sign and sharing in its affinity for the light.

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