Peridot is a French word that is derived from the Arabic word “faridat” meaning gem. The green gem is found in rocks created by volcanoes and in some cases, it forms as a result of meteors that land on the earth’s surface, however, this peridot is much less common. It has even been discovered on Mars and the moon.
Peridot is one of the oldest known gemstones, with records dating back as early as 1500 B.C. Historically, the volcanic island of St. John, in the Red Sea, had the most important deposit that was exploited for over 3500 years. Today, the finest quality peridot comes from Burma, although Pakistani peridot is now highly regarded also.
Peridots were often mistaken for emeralds. Green gems were one of the favorite gemstones of Cleopatra but it was highly likely that some of the “emeralds” worn by her were actually peridot.
The prices and value of peridot vary tremendously and are based on the size and quality of the particular gemstone. Peridot is considered one of the more affordable green stones available. Generally, darker versions of the stone are more expensive.
As a wedding anniversary gemstone, peridot are given as gifts for the 16th year of marriage.