Peridot has a rich history, full of legends and lore that makes it an especially interesting gemstone.
The Egyptians called peridot the "gem of the sun" and believed that it was best mined at night when it shone brightly; during the day, it shone so brightly that it couldn't even be seen!
Most of the peridot mined in the ancient world came from St. John's, an island about 50 miles off the coast of Egypt. It was so overrun by snakes that the miners had a difficult time until the Pharaoh had all the snakes killed. Much easier for the miners, not so good for the snakes. As a result, however, peridot is still believed by many to be a guard against snakebite!
The first three photos are of Minuet Verde, a three strand peridot bracelet with a two-sided sterling bead in the middle of the middle strand. The bead has two cabochon peridots bezel-set into it. The bracelet also has a double sided toggle clasp with a faceted square peridot set diagonally in each side of the toggle.
Many historians believe that the emeralds that Cleopatra wore were not emeralds at all, but actually peridots which would have been readily accessible to her and can easily be confused with emeralds.
For many centuries, people thought the 200 carat gems in the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Cologne Cathedral in Germany were emerald. They are really peridots (gia.com).
Above and below, another three strand peridot bracelet. The gemstones are small and sparkling and accented by 5 sterling silver flower charms and a pretty heart-shaped sterling lobster clasp.
Peridot is thought to help one achieve harmony in marriage. The ancients believed that it would give one eloquence and also protect one from evil spirits. It is often used today by proponents of crystal healing for asthma and a slew of other ailments.
Above and below, this peridot bracelet has 5 strands of peridots on one side of the bracelet and faceted peridot rondelles set between large faceted nuggets of quartz crystal on the other. In the center, sterling silver and peridot charms are clustered next to a faceted rose quartz square.
Today, most peridots come from Burma since St. John's island has not been mined since the 1950's. The largest peridot is approximately 310 carats and resides here in Washington, D.C.'s Smithsonian museum.
Above, a double-stranded bracelet of peridots with the main strand featuring quite large faceted peridots while the second strand has small peridots. The peridots are accented by square artist's lampwork beads shot with silver handmade by Robin Weber. Below, a bracelet made of peridot rondelles and sterling silver butterflies from the Thai Karen Hill Tribes.
Below, another peridot bracelet featuring lampwork beads and large faceted peridot nuggets. The second strand is a large oval-lined chain dangling Thai Karen Hill Tribes flower charms.