John and Laura Ramsey write: “Peridot Gem of the Sun”


August babies have a lot better birthstone than they may have imagined. Ten cool facts that they may not know about peridot.
1. Cleopatra’s famous emeralds may have in fact been peridot.
a. The island of Zabargad in the Red Sea off of Egypt is an ancient source for peridot.
2. Zabargad Island is also known as Topazios Island and St. John’s Island.
3. Peridot comes from several sources around the world—Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar), China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and San Carlos Reservation, Globe Arizona USA!!!
4. While peridot comes from a number of sources, reliable sources producing large fine quality gems remains elusive. Want a lot of small peridot gems—no problem. Want a lot of large fine peridot gems—take a ticket and stand in line.
5. Peridot crystals from Zabargad were easy to identify as from that source in that many o them were exposed to sand storms through the ages and displayed a sand-blasted surface.
6. Great color in peridot is also the perfect spring green—green and gold slammed together.
7. Peridot comes from deep in the earth’s mantle and is brought up to the surface in volcanic activity.
8. Peridot also comes from outer space. Meteorites have been discovered with beautiful peridot inside.
9. Peridot only comes in green as opposed to many gems which come in a veritable rainbow of colors. Such versatile gems include: diamond, sapphire, garnet and of course the rainbow gem—tourmaline.
10. Peridot is one of John Ramsey’s favorite gems to cut and polish.

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Peridot – Its Ancient Beginnings

PeridotOften known in Hawaii as the tears of the Goddess Pele, Peridot has a noble and ancient beginning. The name Peridot is derived from the old French word “peritot”, meaning gold. So let us see how far back in time we have to travel in order to trace the beginning of this golden green gem…

It is believed that peridot, originally called “Chysolite” before the advent of scientific gemology, was mined over 3500 years ago in Egypt. The mysterious St. John’s Island (a.k.a. Zeberget) produced what the Egyptians called ‘the gem of the sun’. The island was often shrouded in fog and its location was often a mystery.

Zeberget EgyptZeberget, photo courtesy of lms_namaste on

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Where in the World – Peridot

San Carlos mine in Arizona

Where in the world is peridot mined?

When I first got in the business the big source for peridot was Arizona. This material comes from the San Carlos Indian Reservation which is more or less 100 miles east of Phoenix. In fact, Laura and I traveled there to buy rough directly from the Native Americans. The material from San Carlos tends to be small and also tends to be included…

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Birthstone Spotlight: August Peridot

peridot-august-birthstonePeridot is one of my favorite gems, not only for its beauty, but because there are so many interesting stories regarding peridot through the ages…

One of the earliest peridot mines to be exploited is the Egyptian Island of Zeberget in the Red Sea. My friend and mineralogical guru from years gone by, Dr. Peter Bancroft, did some “rock-hounding” for peridot on the island many years ago. At the time, he was allowed there as a co-traveler of Dr. Edward Gubelin the famous Swiss gemologist…

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