About Peridot (Olivine)

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Keep reading to discover more about peridot

  • Mineralogy and geology*
  • Metaphysical, Spiritual and Healing** Properties***
  • Common Associations


Mineralogy* and Geology of Peridot

Mineral formula: (Mg,Fe)2SiO4  peridot is usually the magnesium-rich endmember, also known as forsterite. The iron-rich end member is called fayalite.

Mineral group: member of the olivine group

Crystal system: orthorhombic

Crystal habit: Euhedral to subhedral crystals

Cleavage: perfect on {010}

Fracture: conchoidal

Color: green, yellow-green, to white

Luster: vitreous

Diaphaneity: transparent to translucent

Moh’s scale hardness: 7

Streak: white

Specific gravity: 3.275

Named after: forsterite was most likely mistaken for other green, gemmy minerals through ancient times. The general name “olivine” was given in 1789 by Abraham Werner, based on the yellowish green color of most species of the mineral. The pure Mg end-menber was named forsterite in 1824 by Serve-Dieu Abailard "Armand" Lévy in honor of Adolarius Jacob Forster, a German mineral collector and mineral dealer, who variously resided in England and Russia.

Type locality:  Mount Somma, Somma-Vesuvius Complex, Naples, Campania, Italy 

Geological occurrence: In mafic and ultramafic igneous rocks, and in metamorphosed impure dolomites

Peridot is the gemmy variety of the mineral olivine, with a characteristically pale to dark “olive” green color. Olivine has the formula (Mg,Fe)2SiO4, meaning variable amounts of magnesium and iron can be present.  Pure Mg olivine is called forsterite, pure Fe olivine is called fayalite. The magnesium-rich varieties are more abundant than the iron-rich ones, and most peridot is of the magnesium-rich type. Pure Mg-olivine is supposed to be clear. Traces of Fe impart the green color; too much Fe gives a brownish hue. It is easily identified as the only common green-colored igneous mineral, transparent to translucent with a glassy luster, hardness between 6.5 to 7, and conchoidal fracture 

Geological Occurrence

Olivine typically occurs as crystals within mafic and ultramafic igneous rocks, like basalt and gabbro. Olivine is one of the first minerals to crystallize from a magma and one of the first minerals to be altered by weathering – it is unstable in Earth’s surface conditions.

Olivine is thought to be the most abundant mineral in Earth’s mantle. Some occurrences of olivine on Earth’s surface are places where plate tectonic activity has shoved slivers of mantle rocks up to the crust. In some lava flows, the olivine crystals occur in nodules (called xenoliths), thought to represent chunks of mantle rock that were carried up with the magma then erupted. An example of this is San Carlos (Arizona), and Kilbourne Hole (New Mexico).

Mg-rich olivine has been found in meteorites (chondrites and pallasites), on the Moon and on Mars. It has also been found in the tails of comets.

Olivine / Peridot in New Mexico

The most famous occurrence of olivine in New Mexico is Kilbourne Hole, located in the Organ Mountains of Doña Ana County. It is not presently open for collecting. Click HERE to visit the Taos Rockers blog on Dona Ana County for more information.

Kilbourne Hole in south-central New Mexico is a classic example of a maar crater that formed as a result of the explosive interaction of hot basaltic magma with groundwater during a volcanic eruption.

Kilbourne Hole is unique because of the remarkable abundance of both crustal and mantle (peridotite/olivine-bearing) xenoliths that are in basalt bombs ejected during the eruption. Xenoliths are inclusions of pre-existing rock derived from country rocks, in this case, pieces of mantle and crust, that were incorporated into the mafic magma as it moved from a depth of about 40 miles (60 km) to the surface. 

Uses of Peridot / Olivine

  • Non-gemmy olivine has a few industrial uses.
  • It can be used as a substitute for dolomite in steel making
  • It is used for sand-casting aluminum
  • It is used as a rock in sauna stoves in Finland (with a great source in nearby Norway)
  • A new use is for sequestering CO2 crushed olivine weathers (decomposes) readily in the presence of CO2, converting the olivine to silicon dioxide, magnesium carbonate and iron oxide. About 1 liter of crushed olivine can sequester all the CO2 produced by burning 1 liter of oil.
  • Gemmy olivine, called peridot, is extensively used for making jewelry and decorative objects.
  • Synthetic olivine is not produced for industrial or gemological uses. Imitation peridot is typically green glass.

Peridot Trivia

  • The largest peridot gemstone (faceted) is 311.78 carats (62.35 grams) from Zagbargad Island, Egypt, and is now located in the Smithsonian Museums, USA.
  • The fabulous green 200 carat gemstones in the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral were thought to be emeralds – nope, they’re peridot.
  • Peridot ranges in price from about $50–80/carat for well-cut gems in the 1–2 ct. size, up to  $400–450 per carat for large gems with excellent color.
  • The oldest olivine crystals known on Earth are very old – about 4.5 billion years old! They come from meteorites (technically, pallasites) that were formed in the earliest stages of Earth’s solar system and later crashed onto Earth.  Olivine has also been found in comet dust.


Metaphysical, Spiritual, and Healing** Properties***

Peridot has been known since ancient times as a vibrant, sparkly green mineral that carries the energy of the natural, green world. It is the gemmy version of the mineral olivine, named for its color. This mineral offers protection as it stimulates and supports the loving center of our beingness – the heart center, thought by many to be the seat of the soul. In ancient times it was valued for its ability to dispel fear, especially when set in gold.

With its characteristic green color, peridot relates to the heart chakra (energy center) of the body, and all that goes with “heart” – warmth, openness, and healing in matters of love and relationship.

Peridot is also known as a stone of protection, having a shielding effect on one’s energy from any external source, even healing and alignment.  Melody* recommends removing peridot from one’s body before any balancing or alignment practices.  Once completed, the wearing of peridot provides protection from further change.

Peridot energy also assists with transitions from one cycle to another, easing the process of change.  It helps with clarity in seeing one’s internal “landscape” – patterns and beliefs that may be ready for change.

Peridot also has a reputation for helping to find that which has been lost or mislaid – not just physical objects, but parts of ourselves that need to come out into the open.

According to Judy Hall (see below), peridot offers the power of manifestation.

Feng Shui of Peridot

With its plant-green color, it’s no surprise that peridot/olivine represents the element wood in the Chinese system of feng shui, so can be used anywhere in the home or work environment to bring more of this energy to the space.

Anyone wanting a new beginning – in a relationship, in a job, in self-care – needs to make space for the changes by clearing out the old stuff that blocks the new. In the feng shui bagua map, zhen (located in the middle left sector of your space when standing at the entrance of the house) is the area of family and new beginnings. Placing peridot crystals (or jewelry) here helps to activate this space. Peridot can also promote family harmony.

With its green color, peridot/olivine also represents wealth and abundance, so it can be placed in the xun area of the bagua map (located in the far left corner of your house). 

Wearing Peridot

Any stone or crystal can be worn or carried in a pocket to invoke its energy – all you need is the conscious intention for the kind of energy you want. Peridot has a happy and protective energy, so carry a few small crystals with you, or wear a ring or earrings, to help remember you’re having a happy day, no matter what. With its green color, peridot is associated with the heart chakra, so wearing a pendant with peridot close to the heart chakra can provide loving support.

Peridot for Grids and Rituals

Peridot crystallizes in the orthorhombic system. According to Kiera Fogg in her book Crystal Gridwork, orthorhombic crystals are most appropriate in crystal grids as attractor crystals, drawing in energy that surrounds it. These should only be used when paired with another crystal so that it has some energy to draw in! By itself it won’t do a lot. She suggests pairing it with a Seeker crystal to find what you want and then magnetize attaining it.

Peridot makes an excellent addition for rituals and altars that work with the heart chakra, especially when paired with other stones.


Common Associations for Peridot

Color: olive green

Chakras: heart, solar plexus

Numerology: vibrates to 5, 6 and 7

Planets: Venus

Zodiac: Leo, Virgo, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Monkey

Bagua: Zhen (family, new beginnings), Xun (wealth, abundance)

Elements: Wood

Birthstone: August

Wedding Anniversary: 16th



* Mineralogical information is from mindat.org

** Always consult with your medical professional for any physical or long-term healing issues.

*** Metaphysical properties come from: 

Love Is in the Earth (1995) Melody, Earth-Love Publishing House, 726 pp.

The Crystal Bible, A Definitive Guide to Crystals (2003) Judy Hall, Walking Stick Press, 399 pp.

Crystal Muse (2017) Heather Askinosie and Timmi Jandro, Hay House, 285 pp.

Crystal Gridwork (2018) Kiera Fogg, Weiser Books, 128 pp.