The Cool Green Peridot

The Cool Green Peridot

Posted by Elizabeth Potts on

She Who Shapes The Sacred Land is said to cry green tears...
Known throughout Hawaii as Madame Pele, this goddess of fire, volcanoes, and hula has a reputation for being temperamental. But as the passion which flows from her like lava also creates the breathtaking islands where she is said to reside, it would be unfair of us to condemn her for her spirit. A divine artisan, Pele’s refusal to dim her fiery ardor has brought to life that which would not exist without her. Beckoning molten rock from out of the depths, Pele transforms the foundations of the earth and brings with her Peridot—one of the most precious treasures of the deep. 

Madame Pele by Herb Kawainui Kāne

The gem variety of the mineral olivine—which covers some beaches in Madame Pele’s Hawaii—peridot is a deliciously peculiar gemstone. As an idiochromatic gemstone, peridot is inherently green and does not exist in any other color, although the saturation of green varies according to the percentage of iron or magnesium found within each particular gem. Adding to their exquisite eccentricity, peridots keep company with diamonds as the only two known gemstones to form within the earth’s mantle rather than its crust. Crystallizing at the extremely high temperatures existing deep within planet, peridots can only make their way naturally to the surface by tectonic or volcanic activity. 

Papakōlea Green Sand Beach, Hawaii

Unwilling to wait for Mother Nature to bestow the glittering gift of peridots at her leisure, ancient Egyptians began mining the gorgeous green gemstones from the island of Zabargad as early as 1500 BCE. From almost that first moment of human intervention in bringing them into the light, peridots were woven into Egyptian society. With a color reminiscent of verdant foliage, peridot became associated with Isis—goddess of spring, motherhood, magic, and wisdom—and it is said her priests crushed peridots and drank them as a way to draw closer to the nature of Isis. In fact, peridot has been of such importance throughout Egyptian history that it remains the national gemstone of the country. 

But it has never been just the Egyptians and Hawaiians who are riveted by the stunning shades of green which gleam from the heart of the peridot—one of the oldest known gemstones in human history. Romans referred to peridots as emeralds of the evening because of the way they continued to sparkle as brilliantly by firelight as by the shine of the sun and used them as talismans to ward off evil intentions from others. And in more recent history, Napoleon is said to have wooed Josephine with peridot jewelry, while Edward VII was famous for his fascination with the gem. His declaration of peridot as his favorite gemstone caused its popularity to soar throughout the Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Nouveau eras. 

The Coats Jewel set, commissioned by King George IV. Now property of The Victoria & Albert Museum, London
 A jewel of royalty and a stone of divinity, peridot continues to be prized for its magnificent beauty and metaphysical attributes. A gemstone of the heart chakra, peridot is credited with strengthening the bonds between friends and lovers while granting all who wear it increased serenity. Though closely associated with Pele—known for her fierce temper—peridot has a reputation for calming anger and assisting with the release of resentment. For those born in the August, peridot is said to be especially auspicious in opening the heart and mind to possibilities and balancing emotional states. And its reputation for fostering harmony and encouraging clear communication in relationships makes it the perfect traditional gemstone for celebrating 16 years together. A stone of abundance and one relied on throughout history for its ability to protect as well as grant courage for the adventures of living, peridot continues to fascinate and enchant wherever it is worn

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