Peridot isn’t necessarily the easiest gemstone for designers to work with. Its very particular grass green – sometimes with hints of neon or yellow, perhaps even tinges of brown – requires an expert eye for colour balance to ensure it remains elegant and doesn’t veer into gaudy territory. Fortunately, jewellers are adept at finding ways to celebrate peridot, often choosing to pair it with warm yellow gold or to enhance the subtle green lustre of pearls. This gemstone is not as commonplace as some of its peers in high jewellery, which is a shame because there’s something happiness-inducing about seeing a large-sized peridot in sugarloaf cabochon form or as a faceted gem at the centre of a brooch or pendant.
I like to think of peridot as one of nature’s most extroverted and confident characters. Why? Well, from a gemmological perspective it’s quite unique as it is one of only a handful of gems that appears exclusively in one colour. The depth of green is the result of the amount of iron in its crystal structure. It’s also been considered throughout history to be a protective stone that can ward off nightmares, battle away fears and even sharpen one’s mind to a better state of self-awareness. If you believe in the powers of gemstones, then peridot is one to wear for a jolt of confidence and a guiding hand towards your ‘destiny’.
In fine jewellery, peridot is a stone that I always stop and take notice of. Not necessarily because it is the rarest, the most beautiful or indeed the most unusual (it’s relatively abundant in nature), but because it tells me something about the designer. Those who use peridot aren’t following the herd; they’ve found their green hit without veering towards sapphire, emerald, tourmaline, jade or even malachite. They’ve considered the palette of neon greenish-yellow and have complemented its hue with shades of yellow, pink, perhaps even blue. Just look at the Van Cleef & Arpels Rêverie high jewellery clip below, which uses white gold, blue sapphires and diamonds to highlight the neon green hue of the leaf-like peridots. The Boodles Highland ring also uses complimentary materials to highlight the 36-carat peridot at the centre of its designs. Coloured sapphires set in yellow gold accentuate the warm glow emerging from the large central stone.
A peridot highlight from 2023 emerged during Paris Haute Couture Week in July when brands gathered around Place Vendôme to showcase their latest high jewellery creations. Although there was a noticeable lack of pieces with this glowing green gemstone, one bracelet made up for all that was missing, featuring at its heart a 53.92-carat peridot, framed in stamens of rock crystal-infused purple-red enamel and petals of purple sapphires. The Enchanted Lily bangle by independent jeweller Anna Hu is inspired by the purity and elegance of the lily flower, which plays a vital role in Chinese rituals and ceremonies. Moreover, it is her mother’s favourite flower, and so recalls fond childhood memories of vases filled with delicate and fragrant lilies around her home. She also strongly believes in the plant's positive and healing properties.
My advice if you wish to wear peridot is to wear it boldly. Choose a cabochon with strong proportions or a faceted gem at the heart of a complex design. Be guided by the gemmology of peridot, be inspired by its presence in our universe, and be amazed that this gem that falls from the sky in meteorites is the colour of the grass beneath our feet!