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Peridot necklace
MFA# 2016.391


Jeweled brooch
MFA # 1998.569

A transparent, yellow-green Gemstone. Peridot is a transparent form of Olivine that was known in ancient Greece and in Egypt. Many of the green stones worn by Cleopatra were peridot. The main old world source for peridot was the island of Zabargad (St. John's Island) in the Red Sea. Peridot was called an evening emerald because it appears to lose its yellowish cast at night. It has sometimes been misidentified as emerald and as green glass. Former names include topaz (Greek) and zerberdjet (Persian). Peridots are still obtained from Zabargad and also from Brazil (Minas Gerais), South Africa, Kenya, China, Myanmar (formerly Burma, near Mogok), Norway (Sondmore), and the U.S. (Arizona, Hawaii).

Synonyms and Related Terms

olivine; zeberdjet; evening emerald; olivine, péridot (Fr.); peridoto (Esp., Port.); Peridot (Deut.); peridoot (Ned.)

Physical and Chemical Properties

Orthorhombic crystal system.

Fracture = conchoidal to uneven. Luster = vitreous. Streak = colorless.

Fluorescence = none

Composition (Mg,Fe)2SiO4
Mohs Hardness 6.5
Density 3.22-3.40
Refractive Index 1.650-1.690


Properties of Common Gemstones

Resources and Citations

  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 561
  • Jack Odgen, Jewellery of the Ancient World, Rizzoli International Publications Inc., New York City, 1982
  • R.F.Symmes, T.T.Harding, Paul Taylor, Rocks, Fossils and Gems, DK Publishing, Inc., New York City, 1997
  • Yasukazu Suwa, Gemstones: Quality and Value, Volume 1, Sekai Bunka Publishing Inc., Tokyo, 1999
  • Michael O'Donoghue and Louise Joyner, Identification of Gemstones, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford, 2003

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