Peridot is hailed by the Egyptians as the “gem of the sun” which is quite the appropriate time of year for this majestic birthstone.
Peridot has a lovely bright olive-green color with a slight yellowish tint with a sparkly essence. Pliny the Elder, a Roman author, wrote that peridot will glow like a hot coal by night.
This summer, I had the privilege of designing and making a bespoke pendant with a modern take on a classic shape which combined my client, Kate's three brightly shining Peridot, an Amethyst and natural Pearls. It was completed a few weeks before her birthday which happens to be in August!
Here’s Kate’s story: (in her own words)
I have always been a letter writer. I can still hear my mother urging me to compose letters that were "juicy and full of detail." Growing up, I corresponded with my great grandmother and visited her most summers at her home in New Windsor, Maryland. I adored my Nana, and she spoiled me by letting me bring home a demitasse cup from her collection each time I visited. Imagine my surprise as an 8 year old girl when I opened up a letter to find a gold wedding band and loose diamond inside! She said she loved hearing from me and wanted me to have those items. My mother put the diamond in a safety deposit box, but I kept the ring all these years in my jewelry box.
I first had the idea of having Sarah make me a piece of jewelry from odds and ends (such as the ring) after I admired the necklaces that 2 of my friends were wearing at a luncheon that we all were attending. They were both created by Sarah, and my friends told me how much they meant to them. They both have ties to the Northern Neck of Virginia, and these necklaces incorporate elements of that area's natural world. I thought about the mother's Amethyst pin (her birthstone), the Peridot pendant (my birthstone) my father gave me that I never wore, the ring, and a tie pin that belonged to my grandfather with small Peridot stones and seed pearls. I knew Sarah was the right person to transform them into a piece of jewelry.
When we first met to discuss the project, Sarah asked me to do some Pinterest research to find pendant shapes that I like. I prefer a simple look, and I saw a tear drop shape that I thought would work. Next, Sarah sent me some hand-drawn sketches of different designs, and I picked my favorite. I had a second meeting with Sarah at her studio. She asked me to arrange the stones in a pattern. It wasn't hard for me to do. Then she was off to work her magic. The day of the presentation, I went back to her home and she gave me the necklace wrapped up in a beautiful box. It was everything I had hoped for and more. The tear drop was shaped using the gold from the ring. It has a very nice heft to it. She chose a silver backing onto which she soldered the bezels that hold the stones. The bezels were made from gold from my pendant and my grandfather’s pin. The seed pearls are on posts with adhesive, and she will recheck them regularly.
This necklace is a gift from myself for surviving a rather difficult decade. The past 10 years have been the most stressful time of my life. Both my parents died of cancer, my mother in 2010 and my father in 2018. I went through my own battle with thyroid cancer in 2012. I am now cancer-free. I had a falling out with my sister after my father's death (we are now speaking again). Sprinkle in some pretty bad bouts of anxiety and unhealthy coping mechanisms and you have some challenges and sad times. I have worked hard on changing habits, processing my grief, and making peace with my past. This necklace reminds me of my past, present, and future, as I plan to someday leave it to my daughter after (hopefully) many years of pleasure wearing it.
~ Kate E.
Throughout history, there have been many legends that state the strong magical power that Peridot possesses. Legend says that if the gem is set in gold, it will develop its full potential as a talisman and will have the power to dispel terrors of the night- fears and bad dreams.
Peridot has also been long considered to be an aid to friendship and supposedly frees the mind of envious thoughts and is supposed to protect the wearer from the evil eye. Other legends credit Peridot with bringing happiness and good cheer, attracting lovers, and strengthening the eyes.
What's your Birthstone?
Image from the BBC
One famous large Peridot gem set in the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in the cathedral at Cologne was for centuries, believed to be an emerald and was only identified as Peridot late in the last century. And now a few jewelry historians are convinced that some, if not all of the emeralds Cleopatra was famous for wearing, were not actually emeralds, but Peridot from Egypt. This emerald-looking shade of green is almost never encountered in Peridot under ten carats. To find stones of of this deep color, one must look in Egypt and Burma, where production has reached a virtual standstill in recent years.
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