Mineral belonging to the group of silicates, peridot is an idiochromatic gem, which means it exists only in one color: yellowish green. It was also called chrysolite, from Greek "Chrysolithos" or gold stone, and olivine, for its characteristic olive green color.
Some peridots show the "cat eye" effect in the shape of a beam, which is caused by tiny needle-shaped inclusions that reflect light. They are mined in volcanic regions and also found in meteorites in Siberia.
Often confused with the emerald, for which it was sometimes called "emerald of the night", its name could come from Arabic "Faridat" which means "gem". Its name could also come from old English "Peridote", which translates to luminous point.
Appreciated for thousands of years, the ancient Egyptians referred to peridot as the "jewel of the sun". It was later nicknamed "knight's stone" as the Crusaders brought it to Central Europe where it was used in cult objects. It is part of church treasures such as the Shrine of the Three Kings in the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.
The ancient Egyptians already sought after peridot around 3,500 years ago. The largest deposit in the world was then located on the volcanic island of Zabargad (Saint John Island) near the Red Sea. The world's largest cut peridot was found there, it weighs 319 carats and belongs to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.
According to legend, this gem was Cleopatra's favorite. Ottoman sultans, Russian tsars and the royal family of Austria had collections of jewelry and garments made showcasing it. In some cases, articles from royal treasures turned out to have peridots when they were believed to have emeralds for a long time.
Peridot is a gem that transmits energy and vigor to the body, harmonizing and purifying the thoughts of those who wear it. It promotes the balance of emotions, warding off melancholy and bad influences. This quality is even more highlighted if it is worn on the left side of the body since this stone is linked to the heart. Besides, it attracts good fortune and happiness, influencing stress and helping those who suffer from mood swings.
Other qualities have been attributed to it, such as strengthening bonds of friendship, getting rid of jealousy and accelerating healing processes. On a physical level, it is said that it allows you to fall asleep more easily, can alleviate certain skin conditions and helps with digestion. It was prized by pirates for its ability to ward off evil eye and preventing night terrors.
The Zabargad Island deposit is practically depleted today. The most precious peridots are mined in the Kashmir region, on the Pakistani side. Other deposits are located in the United States, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Norway and Burma.