Chrysolite perhaps is the only gemstone which causes so many misunderstanding. Some jewelers called this stone, Chrysoberyl. However, this term is wrong. We can trace this fact while studying the ancient treatises. Pliny, for instance, called this gem “Topazios.” According to his opinion, the birthplace of this gemstone is Alabastron, near Thebais, the Region in Upper Egypt.
He described two varieties of this gem, “Chrysopteron” and the “Prasoides.” Hauy called it “Cymophane,” while Werner named it “Chrysoberyl.” Some authors took this gem for Beryl as well. However, in general, Pliny was right, as “Prasoides,” that he describes is, in fact, Peridot, which is a color variety of Chrysolite (“Chrysopteron” of Pliny).
The word “Chrysolite” derived from the Greek word, which means “golden stone.” When Chrysolite has a dark olive-green color, we call it Peridot. At the same time, when we meet Chrysolite of a yellowish-green color, it is Olivine. Both gems are equal. They differ only in their color. As a result, we may apply all the qualities of Chrysolite to its variety, Peridot.
First, it is worth mentioning that Peridot is a quite soft gemstone (usually 6,5–7/10, according to the Mohs Scale of Hardness). Therefore, this gemstone is suitable for jewelry purposes, but if the jewel won’t be prone to scratches. This stone set in a ring over time becoming worse. Furthermore, its shine possesses a slightly oily character.
On the other hand, Peridot is relatively weighty. The most valuable specimens of Peridot possess the bottle green color. These gems come from Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka), Upper Egypt, Myanmar, Brazil and the Levant (the historical region in Southwest Asia).
George F. Kunz (1856 – 1932) claimed that all the Peridots sold at his time were pulled out of the old jewelry. All deposits of this gem exhausted two centuries before, he adds. Modern Peridots and other color varieties of Chrysolite are of a small size, although they possess of excellent color and transparency.
Some specimens of Olivine of a massive size were obtained from the meteorites. Due to their unusual origin, these stones cost more than ordinary Peridots. Some pieces of Peridot from Myanmar are pretty rare and, therefore, expensive. As a result, you can meet them principally in the private collections.