The August Birthstone: Peridot
Rubies, sapphires, diamonds — there are some birthstones that everyone just knows. However, if you’re an August baby, you might not be all that familiar with your three birthstones: peridot, spinel and sardonyx. Today, we’re taking a look at the first, so you can buy your next piece of birthstone jewelry with confidence.
What is Peridot?
Peridot is a vibrant, yellow-green gemstone in the mineral olivine family. Compared to emeralds and topaz, peridots were used in jewelry as early as 200 BCE, and can be spotted in an array of notable pieces and works of art, such as in the Cologne Cathedral, in Germany, where the Shrine of the Three Holy Kings features 200 carats of peridot. Historically, peridot was used as a talisman, to protect its wearer from evil spirits.
Where is Peridot Found?
The oldest source of peridot is in Egypt, where the island of Zabargad was home to peridot mines as early as 340 BCE. Some of the world’s most notable and pristine examples of peridot were originally mined here.
Today, you can also find peridot in Myanmar, Hawaii, Arizona, China, Vietnam, Tanzania and Pakistan. To get up close and personal with these sources, visit either Myanmar’s mountainous region of Kyaukpon, where you can reportedly find the gemstones loose among the rocks, or (probably more easily for most travelers) Hawaii, where Peridot Beach is green from the ground gemstones mixed into its sands.
Buying Peridot Jewelry
Peridot is a relatively soft gemstone, and it’s not used often in jewelry. However, you can find pieces that take advantage of its unique green hue if you’re working with an in-the-know jeweler like those at Yamron.
When shopping for a peridot piece, you’ll want to take into consideration the color, clarity, cut and carat weight — the usual four C’s that determine the overall value of most gemstones.
For color, peridot should be pure green, with no brown undertones; stones with yellow or brown tones are typically less in value. High-quality peridot will feature no inclusions that are visible to the naked eye, and only minimal inclusions that are visible beneath magnification.
Cut is one of the most important of the four C’s, at least when it comes to peridot, as the right cut can impact the gemstone’s appearance dramatically. As for carat weight, your options will be vast, as you can find peridot pieces that feature gemstones as large as 10 carats or even 50 carats, though these are rarer and not as readily available.
Caring for Peridot Jewelry
As mentioned, peridot is a relatively soft gemstone, so it’s not ideal for everyday wear. Instead, choose peridot pieces that will be used only as occasional statement pieces.
To protect your peridot jewelry, do not expose it to harsh temperatures or dramatic changes in temperatures, whether you’re wearing the peridot or just storing it. When storing the peridot, store it alone, with no other jewelry or gemstones, to protect against scratching and other damage.
If you need to clean a piece of peridot jewelry, use warm water, gentle dish detergent and a soft brush. Never take your peridot jewelry to a cleaner for steam or ultrasonic cleaning, as both methods can damage the gemstone.
Contact one of our gemologists at Yamron Jewelers for more information on other birthstone jewelry and it’s care.