Sell With a Story: Peridot Gemstones

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In ancient Egypt, Peridot gemstones were called “gems of the sun,” referring to the golden glow that emanates from within. This glow imparts a rich yellowish-green hue — particularly appropriate for August birthdays and summer wear when the sun shines and crops near harvest. Now reach beyond birthstones to fashion where green has grown increasingly popular. It’s no wonder why Peridot gemstones enjoy such wide appeal.

Pantone 2017 Color of the Year Peridot

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Stay in the Shades

Most people associate Peridot gemstones with their lighter pistachio shades. These are beautiful and quite plentiful. Still, the finest Peridot has a darker more radiant green with a hint of gold. But until 1990, this shade had grown rare. It is in this lush hue that you see Peridot’s true splendor.

Peak Solution

So what happened in 1990? Imagine the inhospitable mountains of Pakistan near the Afghanistan border. Not exactly high on your vacation list? I thought so. Yet, there on a 13,120-foot pass, a huge gem-quality Peridot deposit was discovered. Fortunately for all of us, the quality of these Pakistan Peridot gemstones were the finest ever seen. With incomparable color and transparency, they took the market by storm. Better still, the deposit is large enough to sustain Peridot demand for a long time.

About that Green

Myanmar, China, Africa, Australia, and the USA all have Peridot deposits. Peridot gemstones from each region have a particular hue, depending on the amount of iron in the soil. Peridot from Myanmar has a vivid light green with fine inclusions, while American Peridot found in Arizona has a golden-brown hue. Peridot gemstones from Pakistan have very fine traces of iron, resulting in a rich, vibrant green color. You’ll find that shade in our Black Box Gemstones® collection.

Some Enchanted Evening

The Egyptians called Peridot “Evening Emerald.” They would know. Egypt is home to the most ancient Emerald and Peridot gemstone mines. But why Evening Emerald? Well, it was green like emerald and they believed its inner fire made it more visible at night — and that was when it was mined.

In Another Light

Peridot is one of the few gemstones that looks the same in different lights: sunlight, candlelight, and artificial.

Mistaken Identity

Circa 2000 BCE, the Egyptians first mined Peridot on a barren rocky island in the Red Sea. Today, we call it St. John’s Island, but millennia ago it was called Topazios. Other gems were mined on this island, too, and they were all called Topaz after the island. Only much later did Peridot receive its distinctive name, which is thought to originate from the Arabic word faridat, meaning “unique” or “precious gem.” Others believe it came from the Old French word, peritot.

Deep Down and Far Away

Fine Peridot gemstones form over millions of years deep within the earth — 20 to 55 miles deep — in the Earth’s upper mantle. Diamond is the only precious stone that forms deeper than that. Peridot only comes to the surface through volcanic eruption or tectonic force. So naturally, we find it near volcanoes and in mountainous regions where tectonic plates have clashed and risen.

There is another truly rare form of Peridot. It came to the earth in a meteorite traveling across vast reaches of the universe. Because these crystals are 4.5 billion years old, they have scientific value far beyond gems used in jewelry.

SWAS Peridot Gemstones Social Share

Tears of Fire

Volcanoes formed the Hawaiian Islands, and there are still two active volcanoes on Hawaii Island, the destination of most tourists. Ancient Hawaiian folklore associated the goddess Pele with fire, lightning, and, you guessed it — volcanoes. Ancient Hawaiians believed that Peridot was Pele’s hardened tears, a goddess’ generous gift to her beloved people.

If You Can’t Take the Heat . . .

Peridot has a very, very high melting point. How high? It can withstand the intense heat inside a volcano, not to mention the intense heart of the Earth’s mantle.

Crush it. Drink it.

To get close to nature, follow the regimen of the ancient Egyptian priests of Isis, the goddess of rebirth and rejuvenation. The priests crushed Peridot gemstones into a fine powder then brewed it to create a strong beverage. To enhance their unity with nature, they drank this prior to ceremonies. It doesn’t sound like a great idea to me. I just can’t imagine crushing the stones, let alone drinking them.

Bearing Gifts

The crusaders returned from their wars in Palestine with gifts of fine Peridot from Topazios. They believed these beautiful green stones were emeralds and many were donated to European churches as such. The 200-ct gems in Cologne Cathedral in Germany provide a key example. Much later they were discovered to be fine Peridot.

Peridot Gemstones Green Stones

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How popular is peridot in your store? Tell us in the comments section.

Sell With a Story: Rubellite Tourmaline

Rubellite Group

With a name like rubellite, you can be pretty sure it’s a) red and b) probably connected to ruby. You’re absolutely right. Rubellite is a red tourmaline with a stunningly intense color similar to ruby. And they share a common Latin root: ruber or rubellus meaning either reddish brown or reddish violet. The most valuable stones are reddish violet in hue.

Why Rubellite?

I was going to write about jade for August. As luck would have it, Gary Venable, Senior Gemstone Product Manager, told me we are now carrying gorgeous rubellite from Nigeria in our Black Box Gemstones® collection. Well, I have a weakness for rich red stones set in yellow gold so I wanted to see it. It was love at first sight, with six shapes to choose. I decided to postpone jade for another month. I wanted to know more about this vibrant red tourmaline.

rubellite crystal

Rubellite Tourmaline Crystal      Photo Credit: GIA®

Not surprisingly . . .

From Greek and Roman times, rubellite was mistaken for ruby. During this long historic period, blue tourmaline and green tourmaline were similarly mistaken for sapphire and emerald. But in the 19th century, it was identified as different from ruby. And it had a crystal structure similar to other minerals called tourmaline.

A very large ruby

In 1786, King Gustav III of Sweden gave the Russian Empress Catherine the Great a 250-carat ruby that became part of the Russia’s Crown Jewels. In 1926, it was discovered to be a large rubellite.

Seeing double

Rubellite is a doubly refractive gemstone and it’s pronouncedly pleochroic — so much so, that it is the most dichroic of the known gemstones. This means that every crystal has two colors (primary and secondary), the intensity of which depends on the angle of observation. When cut and polished, this gemstone typically displays primary pure reds with secondary purples or pinks. Primary reds with secondary purples constitute the majority of rubellites and define this beautiful gemstone — the more pure the red, the more costly the gem.

Red or pink? Throw some light on it — any light

71858 - rubellite style


Rubellite has the extraordinary good fortune to shine just as intensely in artificial light as it does in daylight. Not only is this beautiful, it’s useful information. Many websites sell a reddish pink tourmaline as rubellite. In fact sometimes they call it “Pink Rubellite Tourmaline.” If you hold this under artificial light, you’ll note a clearly visible hint of brown that identifies it as pink tourmaline.


Rub or heat this gemstone and you will discover it has an electric charge. One end of the axis is positive and the other is negative letting it attract dust or bits of paper. In the 18th century when the Dutch East India Trading Company brought rubellite from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) to Europe, they used this pyroelectric effect to remove ash from their large Meerschaum pipes.

pear rubelliteQuestion of clarity

Like emerald, rubellite typically grows with many inclusions and most rubellite has visible inclusions.* Fortunately for us all, Nigeria has produced beautiful eye clean rubellite. This is the source of the rubellite in our Black Box Gemstones. Why does Nigeria consistently produce fine quality? We’ll have to study geology, mineralogy, and possibly chemistry to get some idea. For myself, it’s enough just knowing it’s an excellent source.

*It’s interesting to note that certain inclusions are of great interest to collectors who will pay top dollar for them.

The bigger, the better

Right now, eye clean rubellites up to six carats are fairly readily available. But eye clean stones of excellent color over 15 carats are rare and much sought after.

More than a gorgeous stone

Are you ready to have rubellite power change your life? Its abilities are quite sensational and I can certainly see customers wanting some of these gifts.



Its opening act is hard to beat. According to lore, it can heal the heart physically if you have a heart ailment, emotionally if you are broken-hearted, and spiritually, by promoting loving awareness of life and an open heart. Guess what? It can do far more. Rubellite can also —

  • Bring you prosperity and abundance.
  • Enhance vitality with a positive nurturing energy.
  • Treat disorders of the lungs, liver, and digestive system.
  • Strengthen circulation.
  • Impart calm and balance.
  • Dispel negative energy.

Introduce customers to this life-changing stone.