Peridot is the rare gem-quality variety of the common mineral olivine, which forms deep inside the Earth’s mantle and is brought to the surface by volcanoes. In Hawaii, peridot once symbolized the tears of Pele, the volcano goddess of fire who controls the flow of lava. Rarely, peridot is also found inside meteorites.
Though it is known as “the Evening Emerald” because of its sparkling green hue, peridot looks good any time of day.
Most of the world’s peridot supply comes from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Other sources are China, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Africa.
The spinel is often mistaken for either a ruby or pink sapphire, as it can resemble both. In fact, some of the most famous rubies in history have turned out to be spinel. But its distinguishing features, like its octahedral crystal structure and single refraction, are what sets it apart from other gemstones.
Significant deposits of spinel have been found in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. It has also been found in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, Tadzhikistan, Tanzania, and the United States.
Vivid red is the most desirable color of spinel gemstones, followed by cobalt blue, bright pink, and bright orange. The more affordable gemstones are often those with paler colors, like lavender. You may also find spinel in black, violet blue, greenish blue, grayish, pale pink, mauve, yellow, or brown.