A Writers Guide to Peridot



Peridot is a translucent gem-quality variety of olivine. (Olivine is a silicate mineral.) Unlike other gemstones, peridot (and olivine) is only found in one color, olive green. However, the intensity and tint of the green depends on how much iron is in the crystal structure, so the color varies from yellow to olive to brownish-green. The most valued color is a dark olive-green.

This gem is most often formed through volcanic activity, but it has been found in meteorites. It’s the only precious gem known to exist in outer space.

Olivine is named for its typically olive-green color. The word peridot has uncertain origins. A few articles suggested péridot is the French word for olivine. While the Oxford English Dictionary suggests it’s an alteration of Anglo–Norman pedoretés, a kind of opal.

Peridot is often referenced as chrysolite.

History and Lore

  • St. John’s Island (also known as Zabargad, Zebirget, Topazios) is the first known source of peridot, dating back four thousand years.
  • Ancient cultures considered peridot to be the sun’s gemstone.
  • Ancient cultures believed that when peridot was placed under the tongue it lessened one’s thirst.
  • It was also believed the stone would stop night terrors when the gem was in a gold setting.
  • Worn as a necklace directly on the skin, it was believed to protect against dehydration and brittleness.
  • Dreaming about peridot foretells of impending danger.
  • Historians believe that some of the “emeralds” worn by Cleopatra were actually peridot.
  • Ancient Egyptians believed it to be the gem of the sun. According to lore, ancient Egyptian miners searched for peridot at night when they glowed, marked their locations, then dug them up during daylight.
  • The Romans called peridot the emerald of the evening because the brilliant color did not change in any type of light.
  • Peridot is referenced in the Bible as chrysolite or pitdah.
  • Early Christians considered it sacred.
  • Catholic Bishops traditionally wear a ring of peridot and amethyst as a symbol of purity and morality.
  • Napoleon made a gift of peridot to Josephine as a symbol of undying love and admiration.
  • In Hawaii, peridot symbolizes the tears of the goddess Pele (the fire goddess living in Mount Kilauea).
  • Pirates favored this gem believing it protected them from evil.
olivine crystals

The green sand of Papakolea Beach, Hawaii, is made up of olivine crystals that have been eroded from lava rocks.

Magical and Mystical Properties include

  • helping to slow the aging process
  • rejuvenating the body
  • relieving digestive disorders
  • relieving heart disorders
  • relieving lung disorders
  • relieving eye disorders
  • relieving insomnia
  • relieving depression
  • reducing fevers
  • reducing aches and pains
  • calming anger
  • soothing nerves
  • dispelling negativity
  • bringing the wearer peace
  • bringing the wearer good luck
  • bringing the wearer success
  • driving away evil spirits

Discharging & Recharging

Discharge peridot everyday by holding it under running water. To recharge peridot, place it in the sun for a few hours. (In stone therapy, when using stones to heal, their energy is used up, requiring the stones to be recharged.)

This is a reference for fiction writers and should not be taken as medical or spiritual advice.gemstone index

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  1. A lot of healing powers. Interesting it’s found here and elsewhere in the galaxy.

    1. I know. That was weird, but cool. Good to know for sci-fi writers too. 😉

  2. It’s a beautiful shade of green. One of my favorite colors.

    1. Green is my favorite color.

  3. I love these crystal and gemstone posts! They are absolutely fascinating to me, and peridot is a stone I knew nothing about. As someone who worked in a jewelry store part-time throughout college, I can usually get the color right. But nothing jumped to mind when I saw the name of your post, so I’m guessing that’s one that slipped my mind!

    1. Interesting. It’s also the birthstone for August.

  4. An amazing stone. Love the color and the history of it.

  5. Wow. That’s really cool. I love this information, especially the mystical properties. My daughter’s birthstone is Peridot. I bought her some earrings once, but she pulled them out and lost them. *sigh* Of course, I can’t really expect a rambunctious 3yo (4 on Friday) not to lose jewelry.

    1. Aw! Happy Birthday to your daughter!

  6. Well it’s a type of crystal. Of course I have to love it. =) I love all the lore behind each of the stones you share–how people attached beliefs of heath from wearing certain gems. It’s kind of baffling to me in some ways, but I suppose we have our own strange superstitions these days, eh?

    1. True. It’s wild were this stuff comes from. The more ancient ideas are even more fascinating.

  7. Next time I research rocks, I really need to email you. I did some research on olivine for a story I have yet to finish…

  8. That’s the kind of cure-all that I need. And it looks pretty cool as well.


  9. Oh, it’s magical and I love the colour. 🙂

  10. This stone is really pretty. I love all the different shades of green in the photo. Learning about all these is fun.

  11. Very interesting. My dad is a geologist by education. He would find this interesting, too. 🙂

  12. I could use some peridot to protect from dehydration in this heat!

    1. So true. Maybe we better put it to the test.

  13. Ooh, I love your posts! Interesting as always. Thanks for your hard work. 🙂


  14. Do you know where I can order a few pounds? I like the anti-aging property.

  15. Emerald of the evening has the most amazing of colours

    1. Yeah, it’s kind of a lime green (rather than olive).

  16. Oooo… I love the list of magical and mystical properties!!!! What a fun post. I SO enjoyed this. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  17. Hi Holly – interesting list of lore, and then the magical and mystical properties … I now wonder more … fascinating details. Interesting about the Romans liking peridots because they didn’t change colour … I wonder if they were ever ground down and used in paints in those early years …

    So interesting .. cheers Hilary

    1. Yeah, I didn’t know about the non-coloring changing thing. That was kind of cool.

  18. Are you sure it’s not Kryptonite? =]

    1. You know…maybe it is!

  19. Peridot is my sister’s birthstone, so she wears it often. It’s become one of my favorites lately. No surprise there I suppose, since green is my favorite color. Thanks so much for sharing this info. Have a great week! 🙂

  20. Such a beautiful color. I remember when I was into jewelry I badly wanted this stone. I don’t think I have it.

  21. Lots of interesting qualities. I should be on the lookout for this gem. Thanks for the tip.

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