Chemical Composition and Formation Process

Peridot is a gem-quality variety of olivine, a silicate mineral with the chemical formula (Mg,Fe)₂SiO₄. It forms in the molten rock of the upper mantle and is brought to the surface through volcanic activity. Peridot crystals have also been collected from some pallasite meteorites. The green color of peridot is due to the presence of iron within its crystal structure.

Names and Alternative Names

The name “Peridot” is derived from the Arabic word “faridat,” meaning gem. Alternative names include “Evening Emerald” – the term “Evening” suggests the gem’s warm, golden-green hue, reminiscent of a sunset; “Olivine,” reflecting its mineral family;
Historically, Peridot was often referred to as “Chrysolite.” The name “Chrysolite” comes from the Greek words “chrysos” (meaning gold) and “lithos” (meaning stone). It emphasizes the gem’s golden-green shades. Over time, the name “Peridot” gained prominence, but “Chrysolite” is still used occasionally.

Mythology and Legends

Peridot has been treasured since ancient times, often called the “gem of the sun” by the Egyptians as early as 1500 BCE. It was believed to ward off nightmares and bring the wearer power and influence.
In Hawaiian culture, peridot symbolizes the tears of Pele, the goddess of volcanoes and fire. It was also used by Crusaders to adorn church plates and robes.

Mining, Production and Use

Peridot is found in various locations worldwide, including the United States (Arizona), China, and Pakistan. It has been mined since ancient times on the volcanic island of Zabargad in the Red Sea. Today, peridot is extracted from volcanic rocks and then cut and polished into gemstones used in jewelry. It remains a popular stone for its vibrant color and historical significance.