Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Peridot / Birthstone of August

Peridot pronounced pear-uh-dot is the official modern birthstone of the month of August. The current assignment of specific gems to respective months was standardized by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912, has since been accepted. 
     Peridot is found in varying shades of pale green lime and olive green. Though out times and history the gem has been confused with the emerald. The peridot has more of a hint of yellow or gold tint to it than the emerald. It is widely believed the name comes from a Arabic word, 'faridat', meaning gem. Another thought of origin comes from the French word 'peritot'; meaning unclear because the color of the gem is supposed to be unclear. A third theory is that the word originated from a Greek word 'peridona', which means richness. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC., houses the largest cut peridot which is a 310 carat gem.
     The peridot can be found near Egypt and the Red Sea. For over 3000 years, it has been mined from St. John's Island and also in Myanmar in Burma, Australia, China, Brazil and Arizona. The finest quality of peridot is found in Pakistan.
Traces of the 'evening emerald' or 'emerald of the evening' which is was known by the Romans, can be found in Egypt. In those time it was also known as the 'Gem of the Sun'. As I sad before the peridot was confused much with the emerald. Some believe the emeralds worn by Cleopatra herself were actually peridots. Peridot was mined in Ancient Egypt on an island called Zeberget, today known as St. John's Island.  Legends stated that it could not be easily seen durning the day, so it was mined at night. The island was infested with serpents until a pharaoh came along and finally had them driven into the sea. Ancient Egyptian priests used cups made of peridot so that they could be closer to the goddess of nature because in ancient times the force of nature was thought to be present in the peridot. It was thought to be a gift from Mother Nature to celebrate the annual creation of a new world.
     Due to the Crusades, many churches throughout Europe counted the peridot among their vast treasures. Napoleon, himself, used the peridot gem to assure the empress Josephine of his love and admiration.
     Peridot is also mentioned in the Bible under the Hebrew name, 'pitdah' which was used in the fabled breastplates of the Jewish High Priest.
     In Hawaii, the gem which are formed through volcanic activity ,symbolizes the tears of the goddess Pele. Transparent green grains of peridots are found on the beaches of Hawaii, but they are to tiny to cut.
     The Peridot is one of the few gemstones which come in one color only. It is called as Chrysolite, a variety of olivine. It also one of the most difficult gemstones to polish. As we see, though-out history, the peridot was thought to have great mystical powers. It was associated with good luck, good health, peace, enhances prosperity, growth, strength, faithfulness, truth, fame, dignity and love. It was also believed to have the powers that help to repel evil spirits and overcome nightmares.
     National leaders of former times who wore the gemstone in public was thought to be gentle, fair and wise. It was believed that whoever wore the peridot would bring the wearer power,  protect them from evil spirits and to bestow upon them the power to ward off anxiety, enhance speech articulation, inspire happiness, strengthen and regenerate the body and mind. The power of the peridot was enhanced even more if it was set in gold , had to be pierced and worn on the left arm.
     I didn't find much on the remedies of the peridot except for two. If you hold a peridot under the tongue was suppose to lessen the thirst of a person suffering from fever. Ground peridot if taken internally was once used as a treatment for asthma. Providing this information, I am not recommending it. LOL

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