Showing posts with label peridot jewelry. Show all posts
Showing posts with label peridot jewelry. Show all posts

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Cleopatra and the "Gem of the Sun"

peridot bracelet
 Peridot, the August birthstone, is a pretty gemstone with a clear green color. It is fairly easy usually for us to find translucent peridot that are especially pretty for the jewelry that I make. I do like working with it; the only drawback to peridot is that it is usually difficult to find very large stones.
three strand peridot bracelet
    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.
peridot bracelet with 3 strands of peridots and sterling
    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 (
   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 bracelet with sterling charms

peridot bracelet with quartz crystal
    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.
peridot bracelet with rose quartz
 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.
peridot bracelet with lampwork beads
    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.
peridot bracelet
    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.
peridot bracelet with peridot nuggets and sterling silver

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  • Monday, July 27, 2009

    Peridot: The August Birthstone

    Peridot is a gemstone that I feel is often under-rated. It is beautiful in its purest form: a clear almost spring grass green, but equally appealing when included and opaque in colours from a milky green to an olivine colour. The only problem I have with peridot is that I like to work with larger gemstones much of the time, and it is quite difficult to get large nuggets - or any other cut for that matter - of peridot.

    I do love the folklore surrounding peridot. Early on, from before the time of Cleopatra, peridot was mined on the Egyptian island known today as St. John's Island (called Topazios previously). Mining peridot was difficult because the island was infested with snakes - probably the reason that peridot came to be associated with protection from snakes and snakebite. The miners also worked at night since they believed that the peridot was invisible during the day. To this day peridots are sometimes confused with emeralds; supposedly many of the "emeralds" that Cleopatra wore were, in fact, peridots.

    Peridot was said to have many powers including the power to heal asthma, promote good luck and good fortune (it is known as a "money" stone), to guarantee a happy marriage and a good night's sleep. It releases negativity, draws love to you, and soothes the nerves. It is also thought to help one with spiritual enlightenment. No wonder those miners braved serpents to procure this gemstone!

    I cannot guarantee that the peridots in our bracelets will perform all the feats listed above, but these bracelets will certainly look good on your wrist. We have them for every taste (and will have peridot bracelets with gold soon). So if you wear peridot, you will be wearing it in good health!
    Find all these peridot bracelets soon on Peridot Bracelets page on the Cluny Grey Jewelry website.

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Peridot: The August Birthstone

    The August birthstone, peridot, is a beautiful bright green gemstone also known as olivine. Its use is ancient, and the peridot has been confused with the emerald. The ancient source of peridot was from Saint John Island in the Red Sea, also known as the "Serpent Island" (apparently the miners had to fight snakes during their work) and therefore, peridot is often thought to protect against snakes. Today, much of the peridot used in peridot jewelry comes from Arizona.

    Peridot is often associated with wealth, likely a modern view of the gemstone. For those who believe in the power of gemstones to effect change, the peridot is credited with increasing energy and strength, and protecting the wrists, lungs, and sinuses. Emotionally, it is said to relieve negative feelings, prevent nervousness, and dispel anger. Insomniacs would do well to wear peridot to bed at night since one of its benefits is to encourage sleep. Many also believe that peridot possesses the power to help heal hurt feelings, so if you believe in the Victorian sensibility of letting gemstones send a message, peridot jewelry is a gift that for the person whose feelings you've wounded.

    In addition to being the August birthstone, peridot is also the gemstone for the 16th year of marriage and the gemstone of Saint Bartholomew.
    Peridot is a gemstone that I like to work with when I can find it in a decent size. It is extremely difficult to find peridot nuggets - or any form of peridot bead over 5mm in size. Gem quality peridot is especially beautiful, clear and bright, a green that zings when it hits your eyes. Peridot looks great alone or when combined with one other or several gemstones. The first peridot bracelet has just a hint of amethyst suggested by the lampwork bead, a peridot coloured lentil with a purple design on it. The amethyst accent is repeated in the gemstone clasp of the bracelet (see second picture).
    Rose quartz and lampwork beads enhance the next peridot bracelet, and freshwater Biwa pearls and intricate sterling silver dominate the next bracelet.
    Smokey quartz combines with peridot and lampwork in the peridot necklace with a rather large faceted peridot in its gemstone pendant. Below, peridot earrings boast bezel set peridots in one pair, and larger peridot nuggets in another.

    If you've never worn peridot, give this pretty gemstone a try - it's as satisfying to wear and as becoming as emeralds!

    Wednesday, August 01, 2007

    Peridot: The August Birthstone

    The August birthstone is peridot, a green gemstone used in jewelry from ancient times. It was often mistaken for the emerald, and has been referred to as the "evening emerald". Peridot has an interesting pedigree; many people believe that Aaron's breastplate (in the Bible) had peridot although it was referred to as "topaz". Some also believe that Cleopatra's emeralds were in reality peridots. The Egyptians referred to peridot as the "sun gem" because it was believed to be so bright that it was almost invisible in the desert sun; they also believed that peridot glowed in the dark which is probably why most peridot was mined at night (the better to see them!).
    In ancient Egypt, the center of peridot mining was an island called Zebargad (Isle of St. John). Supposedly, the small island was infested with snakes until Pharoah had them driven into the sea (quite an accomplishment, don't you think?). This is probably where the idea that peridot could protect one against snakebite or cure a victim of it was born.

    Many geologists report that the best peridots come from a mine in Pakistan; however, the San Carlos Reservation mine in Arizona has huge deposits and is the source of many peridots.
    It isn't really that difficult to find good peridot beads that are clear and pretty; the problem is that most of them are all tiny! This is the only reason I dislike working with peridot. I would probably use it in jewelry much more if I could get bigger pieces of it regularly. Most of the peridot I buy, whether faceted or smooth, is either in rondelle form or very small ovals. That is why when I found these large peridot nuggets I couldn't wait to use them, even though they are opaque. They are still a very pretty green, have nice shapes, and most of all - big! (well, for peridot anyway - about 14mm).
    As you can see above, I've used my nuggets of peridot with lampwork, with amazonite so that I could match these great lampwork beads, and one nugget as a single pendant. The third bracelet down is one made with those little 4mm faceted peridot rondelles. You can find these on the website at Peridot Bracelets page, and on the Peridot Jewelry page.
    And the bracelet at the bottom? I love it , so I just had to put it here - it's rock crystal in these marvelous faceted nuggets that sparkle!!! alternated with little chunks of apatite. I love it!