Known for its bright golden green hue, the ancient Egyptians called peridot the “gem of the sun” which is maybe why it is the birthstone for this summer month.   

Ancient civilisations believed that it protects against evil, negativity and nightmares while boosting restfulness and positivity.

The more sought-after shades of “grass” green are part of the mineral group Olivine, due to the impurities within its chemical structure, especially iron.  And peridot cannot be heat treated, meaning that the colour you see is genuine and has not been artificially enhanced.

It is formed in the most extreme conditions found on Earth, in volcanic rocks and deep within the Earth’s mantle.  The gemstone can commonly be found in lava flows in the United States, China and Vietnam and sometimes in solidified molten rock in Finland, Pakistan and Myanmar (formerly Burma).

But it is also found in space! Peridot crystals are found in meteorites and 2006, olivine was found in comet dust brought back from NASA’s Stardust robotic space probe.

People In medieval times often confused the different green gemstones and subsequently, many historically significant “emeralds” are peridots!  Some historians believe Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection might not have been emeralds.