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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History


Modified barrel-cut green forsterite (var. peridot) weighing 46.16 ct.
Photo by Ken Larsen. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G10640-00
Locality Pakistan
Weight 46.16 ct

Gift of David Villwock and Mr Daniel Sarros in 2009 in memory of Mark P. Herechede Jr.

More than 3,000 years ago Egyptians fashioned beads from golden green crystals mined on an island in the Red Sea. Known to the Greeks and Romans as Topazios, this island off the coast of Egypt was one of the most important sources for fine peridot, the gem variety of the mineral forsterite. Originally called topazion, after the island, this gem was renamed peridot in the 18th century. The island is known today as Zabargad, the Arabic name for peridot. Other important sources of peridot include Burma, the United States (Arizona), Norway, Brazil, China, Australia, and Pakistan. Peridot is a magnesium-iron silicate; pure forsterite is colorless, but iron atoms replacing some of the magnesium produce the green shades. Too much iron results in unattractive dark-colored stones with brown tones. Peridot is most prized when it is an intense green color without strong undertones of yellow or brown. This modified barrel cut peridot is an extremely fine 46.16-carat stone and the largest peridot from Pakistan in the National Gem Collection.



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