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
Ancient Egyptians called peridot the “gem of the
sun,” believing it protected its wearer from terrors
of the night. Egyptian priests believed that it
harnessed the power of nature, and used goblets
encrusted with it to commune with their nature gods.
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,
but they are also peridots.
This gemstone saw a revival in the 1990s when new
deposits were discovered in Pakistan, producing some
of the finest peridots ever found. 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 met easily, giving
people born in August affordable options for wearing
this beautiful green birthstone.