Welcome to our B.O.C. blog. Learn about the world of handcrafted ceramic beads, buttons, pendants & components from our talented and knowledgeable Artisans.

History and lore of gems- Peridot

History and lore of gems? Gems and jewelry? Yes! you are in the right place - this IS the Beads of CLAY blog! Welcome to my new monthly post...
Let me backtrack...

My name is Jenny; I am a mixed media artist and member of BOCPAT, and I am addicted to gemstones. I have been making and selling my  jewelry designs since I was a teenager. I went to Art school and concentrated in metal smithing, painting and art education. (I have apparently always liked to mix it up a bit.) After teaching art and ceramics full time for many years, I am now a full time working artist and freelance teacher. My own work has evolved from painting, to ceramic shrines, to mixed media with wearable pieces scattered in all along the path.

As a jewelry designer, I love to work with gems. All types, all cuts, all colors. And since I have been doing ceramic pendants of late, I am pairing them with gems. I wanted to do a post about gems, their history and folklore - to bring  a little something different to the table. Whether you use gems in your designs or not, I hope to entertain and perhaps enlighten with some random facts and gorgeous gem eye candy for you!

So today - pardon my ramblings - I wanted to give you a little info about me and my inspiration for these posts. I am sure I will streamline the format in future months! So without further ado:

Peridot, the August birthstone...

The green of summer! Lush plants blooming in the sunshine! Peridot gets its green color from iron, and is always green. Its a fragile stone ( 6.5 on the Moh's scale) softer than all of the other translucent gems; only one step harder than glass! Its formed from olivine, and like diamonds is formed under the Earths's crust - brought to light by volcanic activity. 

The name stems from the Greek "Peridona" meaning plentiful. This refers to the attributes of peridot - not its availability. It was believed to protect the wearer from evil spirits and adversity.  It is believed to be a stone of increase, bringing warmth, prosperity and well being to the wearer. 

My peridot palette: Peridot chips in the center, paired with my ceramic pendants in related hues and silks from Marsha Neal Studio.

A few historical notes on Peridot: 

  • The oldest examples are Egyptian, dating back to 2000 BC. Peridot was plentiful on the island of Zabargad, off the Egyptian coast in the Red Sea. 
  • The Romans called peridot "Emerald of the evening" as its color is more intense in gentle light. 
  • Medieval metal smiths were introduced to Peridot after the Crusades "imported" goods from the Middle East. It was used in reliquaries and ecclesiastical items like the Shrine of the Magi in Cologne Cathedral. (on the left)
  • Peridot is mined in Burma, China, Arizona, and Pakistan - where new mining in the 1990's created a resurgence and renewed interest in the stone. 
  • The largest faceted specimen? The Smithsonian in DC - toping the scales at 310 carats! (opening pix)
  • In 2003 NASA observed large areas of the planet Mars covered in peridot! So much for the 'red' planet...

Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think and how you used peridot in your designs. 


You can find me online at: 


  1. WOW - Jenny! I'm blown away by all the info! I love that peridot, like ceramic clay comes from the earth (all in different manners of formation). But still... I have always loved looking at gems, and am intimidated by using them - maybe something from growing up, thinking of gems as untouchable because of cost and being an adult type thing.

    I look forward to your monthly post full of information, eye candy, and making me more familiar with these gems and the story behind them (I feel smarter already!). I now feel like I can go out and get some Peridot and use it with confidence, and not just "ooh - pretty color...".

    Thank You for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us all!

  2. Thanks Marsha! My pleasure - I am all about random facts and esoteric knowledge... happy to share if people are interested.

    1. Really interesting post, thanks for sharing Jenny :) Looking forward to the next one!

  3. Haven't really used it in any of my designs. But the info was very interesting. I love Peridot and it's my birthstone, so this was a great read.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.