Peridot jewelry dates back as far as the second millennium BC. These ancient Egyptian gemstones came from deposits on a small volcanic island in the Red Sea called Topazios, now known as St. John’s Island or Zabargad.
Ancient Egyptians called peridot the “gem of the sun,” believing it protected its wearer from terrors of the night. Some historians believe that Cleopatra’s famed emerald collection may have actually been peridot.
Through medieval times, people continued to confuse these two green gemstones. The 200-carat gemstones adorning one of the shrines in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral were long believed to be emeralds as well, yet they are also peridots.
This gemstone saw a revival in the 1990s, when new deposits were discovered in Pakistan. These deposits produced some of the finest peridots ever found. In fact, some of these “Kashmir peridots” measured more than 100 carats.
The most productive peridot deposit in the world is located on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona. An estimated 80 to 95 percent of the world’s peridot supply is found here.
Thanks to these rich gemstone deposits, the modern demand for peridots can now be easily met, giving people born in August affordable options for wearing this beautiful green birthstone.