Peridot; green-gold beauty

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Poor peridot; how are the mighty fallen. It is thought that Cleopatra’s famous emeralds were in fact peridots from the Egyptian island of Zabargad – back when gemstones were classified according to colour, so all green stones were emeralds. Now they are common in birthstone and multicolour jewellery and is really common in weaker, pale shades. It is, of course, also the birthstone for August. Fine peridot can be vivid and stunning, with a slightly oily lustre and I think it always pairs fantastically well with gold, which complements the warm, golden tones that are often present in the stone. This warmth may be partly why the stone has traditionally been associated with light, and in fact set in gold, it was said to ward off ‘terrors of the night’. I’ve most often seen it paired with amethyst but I love it with pink tourmaline; when bright and well-matched the colours seem to sort of egg each other on, competing to be the most eye-catching! Below from left to right are Elizabeth Locke’s peridot and pink tourmaline earrings, Piaget’s completely fabulous peridot and pink tourmaline cocktail ring (have you seen the others in this series?!) and Caroline Nelson’s pink tourmaline and peridot earrings, set in 18k gold with diamond accents.

I’ve spoken about the warmth of peridot with gold, and for this reason, I think it also pairs particularly well with warm yellows and oranges. I love the soft, creamy gold of the south sea pearls below left against the vivid peridots in David Precious Gems’ earrings, and the 18k gold sets them both perfectly. Citrine is also a natural partner; I particularly like the colour zoning on Wilson Brothers’ Citrine and Peridot ring, below right. I’m going to write a piece, or pieces on the joys of inclusions soon, watch this space…


More unusually, I’ve seen some fantastic combinations with turquoise. This is a combination that I just wouldn’t really have thought of; I’m not sure why not, perhaps some lingering notion of ‘blue and green should never be seen…’. Or perhaps because the idea of opaque blue and transparent green is just not something that leaps to mind. But I really like it. Below (left to right), if you’re not short of a few bob, are Nicholas Varney’s mismatched aquamarine, peridot, diamond, gaspeite and turquoise duo earrings. I adore mismatched earrings, but beautiful as these are; I don’t think they are going to be the place for me to start! Centre is Michael Boyd’s stunning ring in 18k gold with emerald, peridot, gem silica, sapphires and amethyst. And (right) David Precious Gems have a similar design to the pearl and peridot earrings above with these gorgeous peridot and carved turquoise drops.

Peridot is commonly used in multi-colour jewellery, and I have to say, I’m not really a fan. Although I suppose, if you twisted my arm, I might consider Bulgari’s Colour Treasures “Ispirazioni Italiane” necklace in pink gold with amethyst, acquamarine, mandarin garnet, peridot, pink tourmaline and pavé diamonds (below). No idea what this costs – it’s not on the website – a case, I think, of if you have to ask….

Bulgari’s Colour Treasures “Ispirazioni Italiane” necklace in pink gold with amethyst, acquamarine, mandarin garnet, peridot, pink tourmaline and pavé diamonds

To shop my collection of peridot rose cuts and cabochons, click here; to shop gemstones, click here. To shop tourmaline cabochons, click here; to shop tourmaline gemstones, click here.

Blowing my own trumpet

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Well, it’s a bit of blowing my own trumpet, but it’s in the name of giving you, my brilliant customers, some extra reassurance. Before the summer, I passed my GIA Gem Identification module, the last part of my Coloured Stones qualification. This was a completely practical, hands-on module, which involved the identification of 500 stones. These came in boxes of 20, posted from the GIA. I had to fill out a worksheet, scan and send back to my tutor in the US and pass each worksheet before moving on to the next one. As you might imagine, this took a little while. One year, to be precise, of late nights, early mornings, scrambled brains and inspiration. I learned so much over this time, not just how to separate different stones, but how to tell a synthetic from a natural, and even what kind of synthetic. This has been especially helpful in giving me confidence to offer precious stones; rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Finally I had to sit an exam, with a proctor approved by the GIA; identify 20 stones. You’ve got 6 hours, and by the way, you’ve got to get them all right to pass. Yes, that’s right; this exam has a 100% passing grade. And I did it! I passed! First time! I am still reeling with joy! So I now have my Coloured Stones qualification and I am starting the last few diamonds modules, after which I will be a fully fledged Graduate Gemologist. Loving my studies!