August - The Month of Peridot

Peridot, the birthstone of August.

Peridot (pronounced pair-uh-doe) is an ancient gem that is generally a light green colour formed from the mineral Olivine. It is one of the few gemstones that forms in only one colour and belongs to the magnesium iron silicate mineral of the forsterite-fayalite family, It's pigmentation is due to the presence of iron trace elements. While Olivine is an abundant mineral, gem-quality Peridot is rather rare, especially in larger stones. Depending on the amount of iron present, It varies from bright yellow-green, lime or pure green, to deep olive or brownish-green; the most valued being a dark olive-green. It occurs for the most part as an eye-clean gem with excellent transparency, and is typically faceted. There is no known treatment to improve its color or clarity and therefore is not heat-treated or enhanced in any way. Peridot is one of only two gems (Diamond is the other) not formed within the Earth’s crust, but in molten rock of the upper mantle and brought to the surface by the tremendous forces of earthquakes and volcanoes.

Peridot is a cosmic birthstone that has been associated with light throughout history. It was known as the “gem of the Sun” by the Egyptians who believed it had special healing powers and could protect its owner from “terrors of the night” especially when set in gold. The ancient Egyptians mined Peridot on the Red Sea island of Zabargad which is the source of many large fine peridots in the world’s museums, however, in modern jewellery they are often sourced from  China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Tanzania, Vietnam and the United States. While most Peridots are born of Earth, other crystals of Peridot have extraterrestrial origins. They are found in rare pallasite meteorites (only 61 known to date) formed some 4.5 billion years ago from remnants of our solar system’s birth. Peridot in its basic form, Olivine, was also found in comet dust brought back from the Stardust robotic space probe in 2006 as well as on the moon and on Mars as detected by NASA’s Global Surveyor.

After reading about the science and history of Peridots, you must be longing to see these beauties. There is a whopping 145.10-carat peridot right in the middle of central London in the collection of the Natural History Museum which has reopened this week so it is the perfect time to visit the birthstone of August! 

At ikku london, we have used Peridots in our Rainbow and Pretty Little Flowers collection. They are all set in 18k yellow gold and come in different designs which are perfect for any special occasion or daily wear.