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Forsterite (Olivine Family)

Forsterite (Olivine Family)

More than 3,000 years ago Egyptians fashioned beads from golden green crystals mined on an island in the Red Sea. Known to the Greeks and Romans as Topazios, this island off the coast of Egypt was one of the most important sources for fine peridot, the gem variety of the mineral forsterite. Originally called topazion, after the island, this gem was renamed peridot in the 18th century. The island is known today as Zabargad, the Arabic name for peridot. Other sources of peridot include Burma, the United States, Norway, Brazil, China, Australia, and Pakistan. During the Crusades, an abundance of peridot was brought back to Europe and was commonly used to adorn religious objects. Peridot became popular in jewelry in Europe and the United States in the late 19th century. It is most prized when it is an intense dark green color without undertones of yellow or brown, as seen here in this fancy round brilliant cut gemstone from Pakistan.

Forsterite (variety: Peridot)

Forsterite (variety: Peridot)

Peridot was originally called topazion after the island of Topazios (now Zabargad), an important source of the gem in ancient times. Eventually, the gem came to be named topaz. During the eighteenth century, for reasons that are not clear, the name topaz was re-assigned to the stone we call topaz today, and the name peridot was adopted for the stone represented here. Peridot is most prized when it is dark green without yellow or brown undertones. In early times, peridot was associated with the sun and was believed to possess medicinal powers. Peridot was used during the Crusades to adorn religious objects. It became popular in jewelry during the late 1800's. The gem-quality peridot nodules in this specimen of basalt from Arizona are fragments of the Earth's upper mantle carried to the surface by volcanic eruption.

Forsterite (variety: Peridot)

Forsterite (variety: Peridot)

Peridot was originally called topazion after the island of Topazios (now Zabargad), an important source of the gem since ancient times. Eventually, the gem came to be named topaz. During the eighteenth century, for reasons that are not clear, the name topaz was re-assigned to the stone we call topaz today, and the name peridot was adopted for the stone represented here. Peridot is most prized when it is dark green without yellow or brown undertones. In early times, peridot was associated with the sun and was believed to possess medicinal powers. Peridot was used during the Crusades to adorn religious objects. It became popular in jewelry during the late 1800's. Five continents are represented in this array of peridot gems: the peridot in the necklace is from Arizona; the other peridots are from Egypt, Burma, Pakistan, Antarctica, and Norway.

Peridot

Peridot


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