Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Peridot - The 'Other' Green Gemstone

The gemstone peridot, the birthstone for August, was known to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, with examples of Egyptian jewelry made from peridot that date from the 2nd Millennium B.C.E. Tradition has it that Cleopatra was a great lover of the stone. It was used as ornamentation in medieval churches of Europe, and an example of this can still be seen in the Cathedral of Cologne. It is one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color, although the shade of green can range from yellowish green to olive.

Like most gemstones, peridot had powers attributed to it by the ancients. It was once ground and taken internally for asthma. It can bring the wearer success and bring strength of body and mind. It can create calm and tranquility, bring peace of mind and spirit. Some of these were attributed to the stone because of its green color. The color green is the color of life, renewal, and health.

Much of the modern day peridot comes from mines in Pakistan and China, but there are also mines in South Africa, Australia, Mexico and other areas. In the United States peridot is mined in Arizona, Nevada, North Carolina and Hawaii.

How Is Peridot Pronounced?

Peridot is a very popular gemstone, but how exactly is the name pronounced? Pare-a-doh, or pare-a-dot? The word itself is thought to come from possibly two different origins. The first is the Arabic word faridat which means 'gem'. The second is the French word peritot which means 'unclear'. So which pronunciation is correct? The choice is up to the individual to pronounce the final 't' or not.
The ancient Romans called the stone Evening Emerald because of the way it looked in artificial light. It has also been called the Poor Man's Emerald. No matter what it is called, peridot is the 'other' green gemstone that has its own unique beauty and history.

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