Peridot can be pronounced two ways: pair-a-dot, or pair-a-doe. Most people prefer the pair-a-doe pronunciation. The name is either derived from the French word for unclear or the Arabic word for gem. It is sometimes called olivine. The gem has a history of thousands of years. It was said to be the favorite of Cleopatra. Its wear dates back to many royal, biblical, and ancient times.
Peridot can be found throughout the world (and even in outer space)—it has been found in some meteorite material. All of our peridot comes from the Xinjiang province of China. The Xinjiang province is well-noted for producing some very fine colors of peridot. For the past few years, there has been a ban on mining peridot in China.
Peridot is quite rare in large sizes. The largest cut peridot is 310 carats (small compared to other gemstones). Every gem on our website is considered rare in terms of size by peridot standards. Our largest stones are considered extremely rare.
Peridot Gemological Properties
An easy way for a novice to recognize peridot, is the fuzzy appearance of the gem. The back facets appear doubled when gazing through the face of the stone. This is caused because the light ray gets split into two (the techinical term is double refraction or birefringence). You can easily see this in our photos (you’ll see the facets of the crown easily, but the facets of the pavilion will appear fuzzy and doubled).
Another common identifying property is the natural inclusions that look like lily pads. You can see a close-up photo here.
Peridot is the birthstone for August (and the Zodiac sign Libra). It is also the 16th wedding anniversary gift. It is thought to bring its owner success, peace and good luck.