Peridot, the August birthstone, is the gem form of the mineral olivine. Known from antiquity, peridot is desired because of its rich green color and limpid transparency. Olivine is actually an iron-rich variety of the mineral fosterite. Fosterite with just a faint trace of iron has a chartreuse, light green tint. More iron produces a darker green color, and too much iron makes the hue brownish, and therefore less desirable.
Peridot occurs in a variety of worldwide localities. The most ancient is an island in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt, known locally as Zebirget (or Zabarged), and in the gemstone literature as Saint John’s Island. There is currently no production from this occurrence. The major sources of the world’s gem peridot today are Burma, Pakistan, China and Arizona. Burmese and Pakistani gems are a rich, dark grass green color, and stones can reach very large sizes (over 50-100 carats). But the total production from these localities is very limited, and flawless gems are very scarce and expensive.
The demand for peridot is therefore supported almost entirely by production from lava flows in China and from similar rocks that occur on Native American (Apache) reservation land in southern Arizona. While locally abundant, the peridot from the Arizona locality is mainly a light chartreuse green, though of great transparency and brilliancy. Cut gemstones are generally small, averaging 1-4 carats in weight. Chinese peridot is a bit darker in color, but tends to be marred by tiny flaws and inclusions that scatter light and can therefore be visible to the unaided eye.
A significant demand
exists for small, clean, dark green peridot in quantities that are large enough
to supply a global marketplace. This demand can now be satisfied by peridot
derived from a new locality in a remote location in North America. Trademarked VERDANTE
PERIDOTTM , this material is unique in that it provides gems
of rich, dark green color similar to the large stones from Burma, but in much
smaller sizes (1-4 carats). These gems are far more saturated in hue than stones
of comparable size from other major localities. VERDANTE PERIDOTTM
will therefore be of great interest to gem buyers who demand a fine, rich, dark
peridot with the look of a superb Burma gem, but in a small size, and at an
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