past & present

D*S Gem Handbook: Peridot

by Grace Bonney


The peridot is a gemstone I will always think of fondly. I come from a family of women who proudly wore family jewelry, namely in the form of “statement” rings. Growing up, my mom had a beautiful ring that had a small peridot at its center, surrounded by a square of onyx. I used to try wearing it at dinner on a regular basis, so much so that a few years ago, my mother decided to let me have it. I keep it on display on my dresser and while I wear it out for nice events occasionally, I mostly love to stare at it because it’s so unusual.

Peridot is one of the only gemstones that comes in only one color: olive green. Depending on the iron count in the gem, though, gems can appear pale yellow/green all the way to a rich deep olive color (the most prized version). While the origin of the name “Peridot” is unclear (some people think it comes from the Arabic word faridat, which means “gem”), it’s clear that this particular gemstone has been around – and popular – for a long time. Peridots were mentioned in the Bible (as “Pitdah” in Hebrew) and are believed to have been first discovered in Egypt, though they’re now sourced worldwide. Fun facts? So far, peridot is the only gemstone found in meteorites and they’ve also been referred to as “the poor man’s emerald“. Tough nickname or not, these gems will always be some of my favorites and such a beautiful color to use for inspiration at home. –Grace

Design by Maxwell Tielman.

Suggested For You


  • The stone in my engagement ring is a peridot. I love it! Coincidentally, we ended up getting married in August, so that worked out well.

  • Peridot is my birthstone and I’ve always hated it. I’ve never liked the pale green shade that is so common. After reading this post, I think I need to give it another try. The tidbit about meteors is pretty cool!

  • Peridot is also my birthstone and is the center stone in my engagement ring. A couple more fun facts I dug up a while back:

    The Evening Emerald
    It has been found in ruins of ancient Egypt and Greece and was often called the evening emerald by ancient Romans, who noticed that its green color shone even more vividly in lamplight, making it resemble deep green emeralds. Maybe that’s where the ‘poor man’s emerald’ came from?

    In Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the goddess Pele’s tears. Some Hawaiian beaches are packed with tiny grains of peridot that are too small to cut.

  • Is this a fabulous series I have been missing out on?! Beautiful design for a beautiful gem! Love all the formulaic and scientific information you’ve infused into the poster and text, too! Inheriting family jewellery is the only way to go. Especially when your family has items you can’t tear your eyes away from!

  • Friendly neighborhood geologist here! “PEHR-ih-dote” is how I pronounce it. This is the gem form of the mineral olivine, and olivine has some amazing properties! It’s usually the first mineral to grow (crystalize) in molten lava as it cools to form a rock. And it’s one of few minerals that’s stable as you go deep into the earth’s interior. In fact, scientists have learned a lot about the deep parts of our earth by studying olivine, because that’s one of the only records we have access to here on the surface. The paler green the peridot gem, the deeper it likely formed inside the earth.

  • My birthstone is peridot and I’ve always loved it! I have fallen in love with your gemstone series and I was wondering if any of these designs are available for purchase? I love the aesthetic of the designs.