Peridot in its pure form is really the mineral olivine, which is primarily composed of magnesium and iron as well as oxygen and silicon, and with manganese and nickel being sometimes present elements of the green peridot. When it the mineral is of gemstone quality, it is called peridot or chrysolite, having derived its name for its olive green color which is considered to be derived from trace amounts of nickel, although some observe slight traces of a reddish hue due to oxidation of iron. The term, “Peridot” itself is simply the French word for Olivine, from which we derive the gemstone’s name, and is one of few gemstones that appears in only one color: olive green.
Olivine is a mineral found on the Earth’s subsurface, being a yellow to yellow-green colored gemstone that is transparent to translucent. On the Mohs scale, which measures a stone’s hardness, peridot measures 6.5-7, with a diamond being a 10 and talc being a 1.
Finished peridot gemstone jewelry is always translucent, and some of the highest quality peridot gems have been obtained from a body of rocks on Zabargad Island in the Red Sea. Peridot is commonly found not only in lava in the earth’s mantle, but would you be surprised to learn that peridot has been discovered in meteorites, the Moon, Mars, and the dust of various comets and asteroids? Truly, the universe often shares the very elements which make up God’s Creation. In fact, olivine / peridot is one of the earth’s most common minerals. But while olivine is abundant in the earth, gem-quality peridot is actually quite rare, as such peridot is considered a precious gemstone (as opposed to a semi-precious gem such as topaz or citrine).