Peridot - Mineral and Healing Properties

Chemistry: (Mg, Fe)2SiO4 Magnesium Iron Silicate

Class: Silicates

Uses: As gemstones, industrial uses as refractory sands and abrasives, an ore of magnesium and as mineral specimens.

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  • Peridot Tumbled
  • Peridot Crystal


Peridot is the gem variety of the mineral olivine. Its chemical composition includes iron and magnesium, and iron is the cause of its attractive yellowish green colors. Gem miners find peridot as irregular nodules in some lava flows in the United States, China, and Vietnam and, very rarely, as large crystals lining veins or pockets in certain types of solidified molten rock.

Origin Of The Name

The origin of the name peridot is uncertain. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests an alteration of Anglo–Norman pedoretés (classical Latin pæderot-), a kind of opal, rather than the Arabic word faridat, meaning gem.

The earliest use in England is in the register of the St Albans Abbey, in Latin, and its translation in 1705 is possibly the first use of peridot in English. It records that on his death in 1245, Bishop John bequeathed various items including peridot to the Abbey.

Interesting Facts

The ancient Romans called it 'evening emerald' since its color did not darken at night, but could still be appreciated by candlelight and the light of a campfire. It is a gem especially connected with ancient Egypt, and some historians believe that the famous emeralds of Cleopatra were actually peridot gems. Peridot was also brought back to Europe by the Crusaders and was often used to decorate medieval churches. In ancient beliefs, peridot was a gift of Mother Nature to celebrate the annual creation of a new world.

Peridot crystals have been collected from some meteorites. In 2011, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope observed what is believed to have been tiny crystals of olivine falling like rain through the dusty cloud of gas of a developing star. This "olivine rain" was thought to have occurred as strong air currents lifted newly crystallized particles of olivine from the surface of the forming star, high into its atmosphere, and then dropped them when the currents lost their momentum. The result was a rain of glittering green olivine crystals.

Where Is It Found

Gem quality peridot comes from the ancient source of Zagbargad (Zebirget) Island in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt; Mogok, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma); Kohistan, Pakistan; Minas Gerais, Brazil; Eifel, Germany; Chihuahua, Mexico; Ethiopia; Australia; Peridot Mesa, San Carlos Apache Reservation, Gila County, Arizona and Salt Lake Crater, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. The best quality peridot has historically come either from Myanmar or Egypt. But new sources in Pakistan are challenging that claim with some exceptional specimens.

The Arizona gem material is of lesser quality, but is far more abundant and is therefore much more affordable. An estimated 80 - 95% of all world production of peridot comes from Arizona. The Myanmar, Pakistani and Egyptian gems are rarer and of better quality and thus quite valuable approaching the per carat values of top gemstones. Possibly the most unusual peridot is that which comes from iron-nickel meteorites called pallasites. Some are actually facetted and set in jewelry.

What Do We Do With It

Peridot is the birthstone of August and is usually a very affordable colored gemstone.

Peridot is a mineral that is not often used in industry. Most Peridot is used in metallurgical processes as a slag conditioner. High-magnesium peridot (forsterite) is added to blast furnaces to remove impurities from steel and to form a slag.

Peridot has also been used as a refractory material. It is used to make refractory brick and used as a casting sand. Both of these uses are in decline as alternative materials are less expensive and easier to obtain.

Metaphysical Uses

Peridot carries a beautiful green energy that activates the Heart Chakra, located near the center of the breastbone. It regulates our interaction with the external world and controls what we embrace and what we resist. It gives us the balancing ability to be ourselves within the environment. When the Heart Chakra is out of balance we may feel either controlling or controlled in a relationship, and become critical of the little foibles of others. We may find ourselves having inappropriately strong emotional responses to everyday external stimuli. Green crystal energy is used to resolve blockages and to re-balance the Heart Chakra, helping us understand our own needs and emotions clearly. We can deal with the ebbs and flows of emotional relationships, understand their cyclic nature, and accept the changes.

Yellow energy within Peridot activates the Solar Plexus Chakra, the energy distribution center and the chakra of relationships. This chakra is located between the ribcage and navel, and controls the immune and digestive systems. When balanced physically, we have strength to fight infections, are free of allergic reactions, and are able to use the nutrients we ingest. When the Solar Plexus is out of balance spiritually, we feel fear - of the disappointment or displeasure of others, or to subordinating our life and pleasures to the will of others. Spiritually, when the Solar Plexus Chakra is in balance we are free to interpret the world through our own thoughts and emotions and not live in fear of violating the dictums of others.

As Peridot provides a shield of protection around the body, it should be removed from one’s person prior to balancing and aligning the physical body with the other bodies, and prior to cleansing chakras other than those related to its color. Upon completion, wearing Peridot will prevent outside influences from affecting the aligned, balanced and cleansed structure.

Physical Characteristics

Color: Light near emerald green to the more common pale yellowish green; also found colorless.

Luster: Vitreous

Transparency: Crystals are transparent to translucent.

Crystal System: Orthorhombic; 2/m 2/m 2/m

Crystal Habits: Flatten tabular to box shaped crystals, but good crystals are rare. More commonly found as grains in alluvial gravels and as granular xenoliths in magnesium rich volcanic rock. Also massive. Twinning is rare, but has produced star shaped trillings.

Cleavage: Poor in two directions at 90 degrees.

Fracture: Concoidal

Hardness: 6.5 - 7

Specific Gravity: 3.2 - 4.3

Streak: White

Associated Minerals Diopside, spinel, plagioclase feldspars, chromite, hornblende, serpentine, iron-nickel meteorites and augite.

Best Field Indicators Color, hardness, mafic igneous or metamorphic environment of formation, lack of good cleavage and density.

Educational Videos

Prospecting for "Poor Mans Emerald" (Peridot) at Mount Shadwell in Victoria.

The Geology of Peridot Mesa, San Carlos Indian Reservation in Arizona

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