Titanic-Era Peridot Necklace with Seed PearlsTitanic-Era Peridot Necklace with Seed Pearls

Titanic-Era Peridot Necklace with Seed Pearls


Peridot [the 't' is silent] is the birthstone for August.  It is a lovely semiprecious stone, transparent and lime or olive green in color. Favored by King Edward of England, and given by Napoleon to Josephine, this stone is evocative of nature—its lovely color brings to mind the green fields and burgeoning hopes of spring.

In Ye Olden Days, it was thought that all green stones were emeralds (and all red stones were ruby, all blue were sapphire). Not all of history’s famous gems, including some in crown jewel collections, are what they were thought to be. Many historic "emeralds" are actually peridot.

Peridot is the gemstone for 16th wedding anniversaries, the state gemstone of Nevada, and the national gem of Egypt. Peridot is sometimes called “Brazilian Emerald.”  “Chrysolite” is a mineralogical term that includes peridot, and it is sometimes called by that name.

Originally mined on an island in the Red Sea which was the property of Egyptian Pharoahs beginning around 1500 BC, the island and its green treasure was guarded jealously, with death the fate of would-be thieves!

The location of the island called Zabargad, and later St. Johns, was actually lost for centuries. Mining started again after the island was rediscovered in the early 20th century, but the mines played out in the 1930s. Peridot also sometimes occurs in meteorites – how cool is that!

The legends and lore of peridot are numerous, as might be expected of a stone with such a long history of popularity. Here are a few:

            brings good luck, peace, and success;

            attracts love and helps friendship;

            calms anger, soothes nerves. and dispels envy;

            helps dreams become reality;

            was worn by pirates (Arr!) for protection from evil;

            protects against terrors of the night when set in gold;

            works best when worn on the right arm [Pliny the Elder].

Peridot can be broken by a sharp blow, and it can be scratched, so take care! Do not clean peridot in a home ultrasonic cleaner; use warm, soapy water and a soft brush. (And work over a bowl of water, not the sink drain.)

Co-Written by Jocelyn Reynolds (Period Pieces, www.periodpieces.com)  and Jenny Andersen, https://www.trocadero.com/php/frameset.php?w=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.trocadero.com%2Fphp%2Fwelcome.php