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Clear, green, sparkling peridot is well known as the August birthstone, and jewelry made with it is a popular traditional gift for a 16th wedding anniversary. It’s mined worldwide from gemstone veins in igneous rock and has even been discovered in meteorites.
Peridot can be pronounced with or without the hard “t” at the end, so don’t be afraid to say it either way. It’s also commonly known as olivine in many countries, but that typically refers to the stone when it’s not being used in jewelry. The name is derived from an old French word meaning unclear, which refers to the numerous inclusions found in the stone.
Use bright green shimmering peridot beads to add pops of color to more conservative designs. Peridot occurs naturally in a variety of shades of green. The shade is determined by the iron content; the less iron, the more vivid the green colors. Sometimes the green is so vivid it can be mistaken for emerald. Historians now believe Cleopatra’s “emeralds” were peridot mined around the nearby Red Sea.
Peridot bead strands come in many different shapes, which can be used to enhance your design. A faceted rondelle cut provides a striking contrast against the rough shape and matte finish of a natural pearl. You can float several 2-4 mm faceted beads in a bezel-shaped pendant to amplify their light refraction or try weaving top-drilled faceted teardrops into a tight design.
The clear color of the gemstone and its ability to refract light will keep even tight-knit designs from losing the play of light through the clear green beads. Mix a variety of shapes and sizes of the gemstone in a single design to create a monochromatic masterpiece.
Take advantage of the varying shades of green to incorporate silver or gold findings and wire in your design. The gemstone occurs in so many shades of green that it is possible to pair it with different shades of metal to bring out certain features.
Yellow gold contrasts nicely with the brown and yellow shades, while white gold tends to pair better with the bluer shades. Legend says that if the gem is set in gold, the stone will develop its full potential as a talisman and will keep away nightmares, so use white or yellow gold to maximize its metaphysical properties.
Avoid raw, unpolished stone unless your design is intentionally rough. Gemstone beads are relatively affordable, so cutters favor faceting the stones since they don’t have to worry about the size eroding value. The quality of the cut can make a big difference in beauty and brilliance. A skilled cutter uses polishing and faceting techniques to maximize the stone’s double refraction property. This refraction is an optical effect that splits light into two separate rays.
Choose a stone with olive or brown shades to incorporate larger beads into your design without becoming too costly. The cost of the stone gets relatively more expensive as the shade edges toward bright green. Build an entire necklace design around a single focal bead by choosing one in a shade that won’t be a large investment. Large focal beads that lean more toward yellow are inexpensive, making it easy to build and design an entire necklace around the stone.
Pair the stunning green beads with colors that set it off. Amethyst, fluorite, and purple glass beads are good design choices, as they are directly across the color wheel from the various shades of green. A light pink rose quartz would be pretty combined with the lighter shades of peridot, creating a piece reminiscent of spring colors.
Incorporate the gemstone in a unique way by using distinctive findings. A toggle closure with peridot cabochon ends will give your necklace design a special finishing touch that puts your design above and beyond the typical.
Design your pieces to avoid any sharp blows that might fracture or scratch the stone. Peridot registers around a 6.5 on Moh’s hardness scale, so it’s not particularly up to rugged wear. Advise customers to take it off while doing dishes, gardening, or climbing into the pool. Rinsing peridot in clean water is safe, but it can be sensitive to heat, acids, ammonia, and hot water. Store your peridot strands away from hard metal findings or other gemstones that might damage the surface.