Just beneath the Earth’s surface, a satiny olive green stone abounds. Olivine fills out the landscape beneath Norway’s majestic Scots Pine forests. This cache provides half of the world’s olivine supply. Among the jagged rock faces and towering pines, explorers learn more about this surprising stone.
Olivine is both common and grounded. It makes up, in large part, the Earth’s upper mantle just beneath the crust. Once on the surface it degrades quickly, making unharmed pieces more valuable. Translucent, high quality olivine is called peridot, the birthstone of those born in August. It is a particularly fascinating gem, with many wild stories to tell.
Unlike sapphres and diamonds, peridot only comes in one color: green! For many green lovers (including Eve) that isn’t a problem. It is usually yellowish green, but is considered more valuable when pure, without yellow tints. Trace amounts of nickel give peridot its olive color. These shades remind us of the craggy, forested landscapes from which peridot comes. In Ancient Egypt, peridots were called Ra stones, after the sun god. Their vibrant, warm color may be one reason.
While Norway is a huge site for olivine mining, most gem quality olivine (peridot) comes from Asian countries like Myanmar, China, and Vietnam. One particular tropical locale is brimming with peridot to the point they have a whole beach full of it! Papakolea beach, on the Southern coast of Hawaii’s largest island, glows with green sand. This sand is made up of small olivine particles. It is believed they washed up from the nearby volcano and collected by the sea. There are only three other known green beaches in the world. Glacial mineral deposits color one beach in Norway green, while olivine colors one in Guam and another in the Galapagos Islands. Because of olivine’s presence on the Hawaiian Islands, peridot is locally known as the Hawaiian Diamond.
So where does this beautiful, prevalent stone come from? To answer that, one has to look beyond our own green planet to the stars. Olivine is often found in meteorites which have crashed to Earth’s surface. One olivine-carrying meteorite traveled from Mars to Egypt in 1911, known as the Nakhla meteorite. When peridot is exposed to water, it structurally transforms into Iddingsite, a mineral found in Martian rock. This suggests that Mars once was home to a supply of water.
On a more bizarre note, a fragment of the Egyptian meteorite was said to have broken off and landed on a local dog, instantly vaporizing it! Hopefully this is an urban legend and not a sad reality.
Another meteorite discovered in a small Argentinian town, sparkles with whole olivine crystals. Called Esquel, it has broken into many small translucent fragments scattered around the world by collectors. It’s hard to believe this stunning bunch of crystals came from outer space.
Spectrometry is the measurement of light frequencies given off by different materials. This method of study suggests that olivine is present as a fine dust, haloing around many young stars! Peridot carries stories from beneath our Earth’s surface, to far corners of the universe, and back. It is simultaneously otherworldly and grounded in our own soil. Its heavenly energy is supposedly an agent of health and compassion.
One lovely example, Eve’s “Peradiso” necklace, boasts unique faceted peridot discs, and smaller diamond-shaped peridot beads. This gorgeous string of gems is completed with an 18 karat green gold clasp. It is reasonably priced at $390, and comes from Eve’s “Raining at Rosehill” series. This and many other exciting Eve designs feature glistening green peridots. A custom piece could even be designed using one of the gems in our collection.