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PERIDOT HISTORY

Peridot found in Alexandria, Egypt suggests that the earliest known mines were the island of Zebargad, about 50 miles from the coast of Egypt in the Red Sea. Zebargad is in fact the Arabic name for peridot.

Zebargad, which was known for many years as Saint John's Island, may have been mined as early as 1500 BC. The island was discussed in the natural history of Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.D.) as having been explored in the fourth century BC. It was called "the Serpent Isle' " since its many poisonous snakes interfered with mining activity. Eventually the snakes were controlled and mining began in earnest, and remained generally active well into the 20th century.

Recently Burma has become a peridot center, especially around the famous ruby-producing city of Mogok. However, gemologists generally agree that the best, of not the largest peridot comes from Pakistan. The most abundant source may be the recently discovered deposits on the San Carlos Apache reservation in Arizona. Peridot is now mined in many locations including Norway, Brazil, Australia, Hawaii and the Congo. Peridot is also the only gem that has also been found in meteorites.

Peridot has enjoyed a mystical reputation that ascribes to it powers including that of warding of anxiety, enhancement of speech articulation, and success in relationships and marriage. Ancient Egyptians called peridot "the gem of the sun" because it was supposedly too bright to be visible in the sunny Egyptian desert. Legend also suggested that they could glow at night.

Peridot was believed to have the power to dissolve enchantments. To exert its full potential, the stone was set in gold. If it was to be used to protect the wearer from evil spirits, it had to be pierced, strung on the hair of a donkey, and worn on the left arm. As a medical remedy, it was powdered to cure asthma. Holding a peridot under the tongue was supposed to lessen the thirst of a person suffering from fever. The high priest's breastplate, which is described in the Old Testament Book of Exodus, includes a stone for each of the twelve tribes of Israel, one being peridot.

 

 

 

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