Sometimes called olivine, peridot is typically an olive-green colour, sometimes tending to a bottle or yellow green hue. A vivid green with a hint of gold, the colour of summer. The colour is caused by the presence of iron.
Often associated with areas of volcanic activity, it has even been found in some lunar rocks! Pakistan and Kashmir are the principle sources of gem quality peridot. Other deposits are found in Burma, Brazil, China, Mexico, East and Southern Africa.
Peridot was used by the Egyptians, who considered it to be a symbol of the sun, over 3500 years ago. Indeed, there were famous and ancient mines on the former John’s Island in the Red Sea. The Romans called it “emerald of the evening” as its colour remained constant, even at night. The stone was introduced into Europe in the Middle Ages by returning crusaders (it was thought to protect the wearer from evil spirits of which, apparently, there were many), and it became he most popular stone of the Baroque period and was used for many ecclesiastic purposes as well as adorning many a royal throne. Peridot is the birthstone for August.