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Gem of the Sun

Peridot is the birthstone for August and can range from yellowish to lime green to deep olive green. The deeper the color, the more valuable, and an iron content of 12-15% creates what is considered by the gem world to be the ideal shade of green. It has a hardness of 6.5-7. Peridot is the name given to gem quality versions of the mineral group Olivine. This group is one of the most abundant minerals found on Earth, but you’re not likely to see them just lying around on the dirt, or even with a bit of digging. This is because most Olivine on our planet is found in the Mantle over 250 miles below the Earth’s surface. There it is liquid and mixes with another mineral called Pyroxene which forms Peridotite. Peridotite is what all our continents float on, and it’s responsible for the movement of tectonic plates. In addition to earth, Olivine can be found on the moon, Mars, in meteorites, in some comets, and as “rain” on some stars. It’s really an intergalactic gem!

Olivines need a high temperature in order to form crystals. Thus, they are often the first crystals to form from a magma flow. Peridot crystals are often found in China, Burma, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, but the prime crystals are found in the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. However, they can occur naturally in any place that has or has had volcanic activity. The U. S.’s most volcanic state, Hawaii, has a beach made green because its sand is primarily Olivine. It is believed that Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection actually may have been Peridot, which makes sense, because in Arabic, faridat (from which we get the name) simply means “gem”, and before modern science, stones were often categorized by color. Even Cathedrals adorned figures of Holy Kings with Emeralds that later were identified

as Peridots. Ancient Egyptians called Peridot the “gem of the sun” and believed it could protect one from night terrors. When strung onto donkey hairs and worn on the left arm, Peridot could ward off evil. Being of a yellow-green color, it would make sense that Peridot is connected with both the Solar Plexus and Heart chakras. It gives one the courage necessary to act out their desires and can bring value to one’s life. It can increase prosperity and self worth and can even help one quit smoking!

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