Peridot: Color, Formation, Occurrence and Value

What is peridot

Peridot is a yellowish-green transparent variety of olivine, a mineral that is found in volcanic rocks and meteorites. It is one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color. Peridot's color is caused by the presence of iron in the mineral's crystal structure. The more iron, the darker the green color of the peridot.

Formation of peridot

Peridot is formed in the upper mantle of the Earth, where it is found in association with other mafic and ultramafic rocks. These rocks are rich in iron and magnesium, which are the two elements that give peridot its characteristic green color. Peridot is brought to the surface by volcanic activity, where it can be found in lava flows and other igneous rocks.

Peridot: Color, Formation, Occurrence and Value
Peridot: Color, Formation, Occurrence and Value

Physical Properties of peridot

Peridot is a variety of olivine, which is a mineral composed of magnesium and iron. It has a Mohs hardness of 6.5 to 7, which means that it is a relatively soft gemstone. Peridot is typically transparent to translucent, and it has a vitreous luster. The color of peridot can vary from yellow-green to olive-green to brownish-green. The color is caused by the presence of iron in the mineral.

Peridot: Color, Formation, Occurrence and Value
Shield-cut peridot, From Tanzania.
Photo © Joel E. Arem

Color of peridot

The color of peridot can vary from pale yellow-green to deep green. The color of peridot is determined by the amount of iron and magnesium in the mineral. Peridot with a high iron content will be darker green, while peridot with a high magnesium content will be lighter green.

Occurrence of peridot

Peridot is found in igneous rocks, such as basalt and peridotite. It is also found in some meteorites. The largest peridot deposits are found in the deserts of Egypt and Pakistan. Smaller deposits are found in the United States, Brazil, China, and Australia. 

Peridot: Color, Formation, Occurrence and Value
Peridot Crystal Cluster From Spat Mine Manshera, Pakistan
Photo: Fayyaz Ahmed

The largest peridot deposits in the world are found in the following locations:

❖ Zabargad Island, Egypt: This island in the Red Sea is known for its large peridot crystals. The peridot mines on Zabargad Island were first worked by the ancient Egyptians, and they have been producing peridot for over 3,500 years.  

❖ Pakistan: Peridot is also found in Pakistan, in the Kohistan region. The peridot crystals from Pakistan are typically smaller than those found on Zabargad Island, but they are often of higher quality. 

❖ Myanmar: Peridot is also found in Myanmar, in the Mogok region. The peridot crystals from Myanmar are typically very high quality, and they are often used in fine jewelry.  

❖ United States: Peridot is also found in the United States, in the state of Arizona. The peridot mines in Arizona are the largest in the Western Hemisphere.

History and Uses of peridot

Peridot has been prized for centuries. It was one of the most popular gemstones in ancient Egypt, and it was often used in jewelry and amulets. Peridot was also known as the "gem of the sun" because it was believed to have protective powers against the sun's rays.

Today, peridot is still a popular gemstone. It is used in jewelry, such as rings, necklaces, and earrings. Peridot is also used in cabochons and beads.

Meaning and Symbolism of peridot

Peridot is associated with many meanings and symbols. It is the birthstone for the month of August, and it is also associated with the sun, love, and protection. Peridot is said to bring good luck, happiness, and prosperity. It is also said to help with emotional healing and to promote positive energy.

Peridot: Color, Formation, Occurrence and Value
Peridot in basalt from the mountains of Canary Islands in Spain.

Care and Maintenance

Peridot is a relatively easy gemstone to care for. It should be cleaned with warm, soapy water and a soft cloth. Peridot should not be exposed to harsh chemicals or heat, as this can damage the gemstone.

Pricing and Value of peridot

The value of peridot is determined by four factors: color, clarity, size, and cut.

  • Color: The most valuable peridots have a deep green color with no yellow or brown tint.
  • Clarity: The fewer inclusions a peridot has, the more valuable it is. Inclusions are small, natural imperfections in the stone.
  • Size: Larger peridots are more valuable than smaller ones.
  • Cut: The cut of a peridot can also affect its value. A well-cut peridot will sparkle and reflect light beautifully.

Peridot is a relatively affordable gemstone, but high-quality peridots can be quite expensive.

The price of peridot can vary widely depending on the factors listed above. A small, low-quality peridot may cost only a few dollars, while a large, high-quality peridot can cost thousands of dollars.

Pallasite meteorites

Peridot: Color, Formation, Occurrence and Value
Large Green Peridot Crystals in Pallasite Meteorite
Photo: Steve Jurvetson

Pallasite meteorites are a type of stony-iron meteorite that contain large crystals of olivine/Peridot, a mineral that is often green in color. The green color of the olivine in pallasite meteorites is caused by the presence of iron impurities. The largest known peridot crystal found in a pallasite meteorite is about 2.5 centimeters in diameter.


Peridot is a beautiful, versatile gemstone with a rich history and symbolism. It is a popular choice for jewelry, and it is also said to bring good luck and happiness. If you are looking for a gemstone that is both beautiful and meaningful, peridot is a great option.


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