Peridot is gem-quality olivine, which is a silicate mineral with the formula of (Mg, Fe)2SiO4. As peridot is the magnesium-rich variety of olivine (forsterite), the formula approaches Mg2SiO4.

The origin of the name peridot is uncertain. The Oxford English Dictionary suggests an alteration of Anglo–Norman pedoretés (classical Latin pæderot-), a kind of opal, rather than the Arabic word faridat, meaning “gem”.

The Middle English Dictionary’s entry on peridot includes several variations : peridod, peritot, pelidod and pilidod – other variants substitute y for the is seen here.

Peridot is one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color: an olive-green. The intensity and tint of the green, however, depends on the percentage of iron that is contained in the crystal structure, so the color of individual peridot gems can vary from yellow, to olive, to brownish-green. In rare cases, peridot may occur in a medium-dark toned, visually pure green with no secondary yellow hue or brown mask.

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