Good news August babies! After many centuries, Peridot is starting to be seen as a “staple” gem. What does that mean? It means there is a strong supply, relatively stable pricing and consumer recognition. Commercially, this makes it a gem that’s positioned to be around for the long haul. Since 1900, it has always been the birthstone of August, its bright, fresh color a fitting hue for the high summer.
Peridot’s vibrant lemony green color is not easily forgotten. Lighter than the grass-green tsavorite or the deep jungle green emerald, there is simply no gem like it. Despite its beautiful alluring hue, the peridot has fallen in and out of favor over the centuries.
Mrs. Jones & Co. peridot stud earrings. Buy them here.
For 3,500 years the barren and closely guarded volcanic island of Zabargad, also know as St. John’s or Snake Island in the Red Sea, was the only place to find this gem. The young pharaoh Tutankhamen proudly wore a peridot pendant and in the Judeo Christian world the peridot – known as pitdah or tharshish – was considered one of the most precious stones and is mentioned twice in the Bible. Along with the Ten Commandments, scholars believe that it was among the 12 stones Moses brought down from Mount Sinai. Cleopatra of Egypt’s green jewels may well have been peridots, mistakenly identified as emeralds.
Today, there is peridot rough coming from Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as Burma, China, Africa and Arizona.
One of the main reasons that peridot fell out of favor was the shortage of larger, good quality pieces while new sources of emerald and tsavorites were being discovered. For awhile, it was being described as the ‘poor man’s emerald’.
Eva Steinberg peridot and diamond bracelet. Photo courtesy of 1st dibs.
Luckily, peridot’s fortunes changed and today while not inexpensive, a good quality peridot – particularly one over 8 carats – is once again highly prized and available. In the 1990’s a new source of peridot helped boost the stone’s popularity when a bright green crystal – now called Kashmir Peridot – was found high in the mountains near the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. Today 90% of our peridots come from San Carlos, Arizona, which is located on the San Carlos Apache Reservation. In the same general area, there is even a town named Peridot.
However, when it comes to peridot rough from Arizona, supply can be a bit of an issue, due to spotty availability of blasting and heavy equipment, extreme summer heat and the number of diggers who do wildfire firefighting during the summer months which really depletes the mining labor pool. Even with those issues, the demand for Arizona peridot is still strong because of the color and demand for gems mined in America.
Peridot also has an extraterrestrial connection, albeit rare. According to the GIA’s Gem Encyclopedia, some meteorites that have fallen to Earth contain peridot. In 2003, NASA reported that peridot had been found on Mars making it the only gemstone known to exist on another planet.
Madstone Design Melting Ice drop earrings in white gold with peridots, tsavorites and diamonds.
One other contributing factor to the rise in popularity of peridot must be mentioned. Social media channels which offer such strong visual appeal, like Instagram and Pinterest, have opened the doors for new gemstones. The ease of search and discovery through these visual platforms have opened people’s eyes and imaginations to stones that they might not have considered before, as they see more examples of the stones set in modern jewelry.
Add to that the design trend of mixing multiple strong colors together in jewelry and peridot is perfectly positioned to square off again gemstones such as emeralds, demantoid garnets and tsavorite garnets. Peridot is a perfect choice for big dangle earrings and cocktail rings, as it can provide a very large look and color without the price of emeralds or green garnets of the same size.
Rina Limor peridot and diamond studs. Contact Mrs. Jones for pricing. Photo courtesy of Rina Limor.
Peridot demand and pricing is expected to remain stable, if not increase a bit, in the future. As a birthstone with a historically strong availability, it likely will remain a top performer. Peridot is seen as a gemstone that provides “a lot of bang for the buck.”
What do you think? Are you a fan? I have an August baby so I am a big fan!