Peridot is what the gemmology people call the gem-quality specimens of the mineral, Olivine.
Peridot gets its olive/bottle green colour from the presence of iron.
It has a distinctive oily lustre, as opposed to the hard edged glint of say, a diamond. Peridot will always have a soft, dreamy look about it, no matter how sharp the facets that are cut into it.
It has a Moh’s Hardness of 6.5, giving it a “careful setting this stone” aspect and its crystal structure is Orthorhombic, which means the crystals are in a three-dimensional geometrical arrangement, having three unequal axes at right angles.
We do find a reasonable amount of tiny to large large chunks of Peridot in the marketplace at competitive prices. However, the top quality crystals are actually very rare and, when found, are surprisingly steep in price.
Historically, and romantically, Peridot was sourced from St John’s Island in Egypt, where it had been mined for around 3,500 years. Pretty much all Peridot seen in the ancient collections of jewels in museums are sourced from there. More recently though, Peridot comes from China, Burma, Brazil, Hawaii, South Africa and Norway.
Peridot looks great in any cut: be it facetted or cabochon.
Peridot is the traditional birthstone for the month of August.