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Peridot is sometimes referred to as an “Evening Emerald” because under artificial
light the stone glows as a brilliant green. Many beautiful examples of peridot were
brought back from the Mediterranean area during the Crusades, by loot or by trade.
These found their way into the cathedrals of Europe where they were presented as
emeralds. Choice peridot is transparent and its color varies from yellow green to
brilliant light green.  Peridot is so radiant that it was called the "gem of the sun" by
the ancients who believed it had the power to ward off darkness. The peridot is
bright olive green, so brilliant that it flashes even in dim light. Peridot is the child of
volcanic action, crystals are sometimes combed from the black sands of Hawaii.

The peridot symbolizes eloquence and persuasiveness; it was dedicated to St.
Bartholomew. Treasured peridots found their way into cathedrals during the
Crusades. Many legends state that peridot was considered a powerful amulet
against all evil, as well as a remedy for sinus problems. It is said that if the gem was
set in gold, it had the power to protect its wearer from terrors of the night, fears and
bad dreams. Peridots were especially favored by pirates.

The peridot was favored for earrings because of the belief that its power over light
was transferable to sound and would make even the faintest sound more audible.
The peridot was thought to put evil spirits to flight, drive off the terrors of the night,
and endow its owner with a sane mind, a kind temperament, and persuasive
eloquence. For the peridot to exert its full powers as a talisman, however, it had to
be set in gold. For it to work as a defense against the wiles of evil spirits, the stone
had to be pierced and strung on the hair of an ass and then attached to the left
arm!  When ground into a powder, peridot was taken as a remedy for asthma and
when held under the tongue, it was supposed to lessen the thirst of a fever.

The most important source of peridot has been the island near Egypt in the Red
Sea now known as St. John's (formerly Sebirget, which is the Arabic word for
Peridot). It is here that the most beautiful medium-dark-green crystals are found.
The mines that produced peridots were worked as early as 1500 BC., and in those
days Zebirget was known as the Isle of Serpents because it was infested with
poisonous snakes that made mining operations difficult. Later, a reigning Egyptian
monarch had the snakes driven out so that work could proceed. The workers who
lived on the island were forced by the king to dig for the stones and deliver them to
the royal gem cutters. Reportedly, because it was difficult to distinguish the lustrous
periodots in daylight, the searchers would go out at night, mark the location of the
stones, and return the next day to work the area. The monarchs valued the stones
so highly and feared theft so greatly, that guards were posted and ordered to kill
any suspicious persons approaching the shore.

As the birthstone for August, the peridot assures married happiness.  Peridot is
found in mainly Burma and the U.S.A.
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