Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Folklore of Peridot, August's Birthstone

Peridot was considered a very spiritual stone in Ancient Egypt. Egyptian priests would brew a strong drink from the crushed up stones and partake of this hot beverage during ceremonies. It was believed that drinking peridot brought them closer to nature.  Egyptian priests also drank from cups lined with peridot to heal maladies and pay tribute to the goddess Isis.

Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, had a deep love of peridot. While many sources from the time describe her as bejeweled in emeralds there is much archaeological evidence that the stones people were taking as emeralds were actually peridot.

Peridots were often mistaken for emeralds.  In fact, the Romans called them the “evening emeralds” because of the way they caught and reflected lamplight.  There was a long held belief that peridot burned with an inner fire that would glow at night.  In some ancient cultures miners searched for peridot during the early evening or at night when they said it was the easiest to find.

Crusaders invading Egypt during the Middle Ages found the peridot mines on Zabargad and brought many of the gems back with them to Europe.   These were used to decorate their churches.  These stones had already played a heavy role in Christianity and appear numerous times in the Bible under the name chrysolite.  Aaron the Priest, brother of Moses, wore a peridot into battle. Peridots represent purity in Christian folklore and commonly ornament high-ranking Catholic Church officials.

 In Hawaii, peridots are rare, but as one of the few natural gems found on the islands, they quickly became a treasured part of native mythology. Tiny peridot pebbles washed up onshore, causing the Hawaiians to believe they were the tears of the goddess Pele.  Pele is associated with fire, lightning, and volcanoes.  In many stories Pele is a destructive goddess, but as the Hawaiian Islands themselves were formed from the explosion of the volcanoes beneath them, the Hawaiian people felt Pele was generous as well.  Peridot is one of the gifts it is said the goddess gave to the Hawaiian people.

Throughout history it was believed that peridot could cure respiratory problems such as asthma and that the gemstone acted as a salve to heart troubles. In the Middle Ages, peridot was placed under the tongue of sick people to reduce fevers.

Modern day belief regarding the peridot says that wearing one brings good luck and peace, as well as stronger friendships, success, and a knack for attracting wealth.   In modern new age tradition it is also supposed to help soothe the wearer to deep sleep, to dispel negative energy, and calm anger.

Information shared by:  Renee Mallett for Examiner.com and JewelryNotes.com

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