Question: What is peridot?
Answer: Peridot, a variety of chrysolite, is a light to olive green, moderately hard, transparent mineral that is cut and graded as gemstones.
Peridot is the birthstone of August and signifies joy and happiness in marriage.
The word peridot, although said to be French, may get it's origins from the Arabic word faridat, meaning gem. Olivine is another word used by mineralogist because of it's olive color.
In ancient Egypt, this beauty of a gemstone was thought to protect the wearer from evil spirits and to keep spirits away during the night. It was also thought to cure asthma and and other illnesses and to ward off thirst caused by fever.
Peridot crystals tend to be two thick and tubular with cleavage and conchoidal fracture that run in two directions.
Peridot has been known to crack under pressure due to the brittle nature of it's crystals so care must be taken when jewelers cut the stone for jewelry placement.
When set in gold, the brilliance of peridot is seen exquisitely in table or brilliant cut. The right cut makes all the difference.
Peridot is known to have been mined by the Egyptians over three thousand years ago. Today, it is mined in Brazil, Tanzania, Pakistan, Mexico, and several other countries.
In the U. S., peridot is found in certain areas of Arizona.
Today, large peridot gemstones are becoming rare, although smaller ones are abundant.
Some of the larger cut peridot gemstones are in kept in museums in the USSR, England, New York City, and Chicago.
But the largest known cut peridot, weighing in at over 300 carats, is located at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
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