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Peridot and Garnet


This gemstone has been known by no fewer than three names: `Peridot`, `Chrysolite`, from the Greek `gold stone`, and `Olivine`, for Peridot is the gemstone form of the mineral olivine. In the gemstone trade it is called `Peridot`.

Peridot is one of the few gemstones which comes in one colour only. The rich, green colour with the slight tinge of yellow is caused by very fine traces of iron. From a chemical point of view, Peridot is an iron magnesium silicate. The intensity of the colour depends on the amount of iron actually present and the colour itself can vary over all shades of yellowish green and olive, and even to a brownish green. Peridot is not particularly hard - only 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale - care should be taken especially with faceted stones since the facet junctions may abrade over time.

Traditionally the finest Peridot have come from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and almost all larger stones will be from this location.  It is also found in China, Arizona in the U.S.A. and fine pieces have also come from Pakistan.

It is of course the birthstone for August and is said to attract love as well as to calm anger.  Because it is calming to the central nervous system it is also helpful in promoting sleep if worn to bed.

Spessartite Garnets

The gem specialist world was delighted some years ago by discovery of a type of garnet which had been quite  scarce until that time. At the Kunene River, on the border between Namibia and Angola, a deposit of beautiful orange to Orange-red Garnets  was discovered.  Under the trade name `Mandarin Garnet`, this lovely  orange garnet became world-famous in no time at all. Unfortunately, the mine in the quiet hills of Namibia was only able to be mined for a few years. Another deposit of the orange Garnet was discovered, this time in Nigeria. Their colour and brilliance are  similar to those of the Mandarin garnets from Namibia but doesn`t quite have the intense orange of the original.

These are also found in Madagascar in excellent colour and occasionally in Pakistan and India.  Hardness is good at 7 1/4 but Garnet can be a little brittle so care is advised for long life.