This ancient gemstone, whose history dates all the way back to Ancient Egypt, is adored by many. While the origin of its name is unknown, some suggest that the name peridot comes from the Arabic word faridat which means “gem”.
Peridot is a variety of the mineral olivine, as one may guess from its name, the gem has a beautiful olive tone green. Peridot owes its color to the iron content in its chemical structure. Higher the iron, more intense the green color.
This olive-green gem can be commonly found in lava. The only known ancient source of peridot was located in Zabargad Island in the Red Sea. The aforementioned source also gave the world the largest cut peridot. This peridot weighs 311 carats, and it is currently on display at The Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. Many new peridot sources have been discovered since, especially in the last 30 years. These newly discovered sources are located in Afghanistan, Burma, Pakistan, China, and the U.S.A.
Peridots with darker green tones are the most valuable ones. Peridot is one of the "idiochromatic" gems, meaning that its color comes from the basic chemical composition of the same mineral, not from minor impurities, this is the reason why peridot is only found in green tones. Peridot is one of the few precious stones found in a single color.
Peridot is generally a transparent stone. Inclusions can create a cloudy appearance in larger gems. Due to their external similarity, peridots may be confused with emeralds. However, emeralds show a deeper green color than peridots, and they are also tougher than them. These two green gems also have completely different chemical structures, one is a beryl variety, and the other is olivine.
Peridot has a hardness rating of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. Even though they are not the most durable gem, peridots are widely used in all types of jewelry. The wearer should be aware that peridots may easily get scratched, so they should be given proper care and attention.
While there is no globally accepted peridot grading system, they may be classified according to their external and internal features, mainly their color, and internal clarity.
Peridots in this category are the most common ones since 60% of all the Peridots fall into this category. Decent quality Peridots have a light greenish yellow color, and they have inclusions which one can see with the naked eye.
Roughly 30% of all natural Peridots fall into this category. Superior quality Peridots have a greenish yellow color, and they have small inclusions.
Peridots in this category are regarded as rare since only 10% of them qualify to be in this category. Finest quality Peridots show a beautiful green color which resembles an olive, and they do not contain inclusions which one can see with the naked eye.
A mere look at the Peridots in this category is enough to confirm that they do not look like the others. Their incredible olive green hue makes them shine out. Prodigious quality peridots do not have any inclusions, in other words, they are flawless.