Peridot has always been a favourite of mine – there’s something about green gemstones I seem to find alluring. On the other hand, Meteorites have always fascinated me as the idea that they have witnessed the expanse of universe, survived the journey (for who knows how many millions of years) and finally impacted the planet Earth in cataclysmic event is something that you’ve got to find incredible… right?
More recently, I’ve been amazed by a type of Meteorite called Pallasites. These beauties are part of a stony-iron classification and contain Peridot crystals! My worlds have collided, literally.
Stony-iron Meteorites are just that, of roughly equal proportions of nickel-iron and stony material and are the least abundant of all Meteorites. In the case of Pallasites that stony material is Olivine, or what Gemmologosts refer to as Peridot. Generally, a well-known gemstone Peridot is a silicate mineral with the formula (Mg,Fe)2SiO4, although it does have a low silica content. Peridot sits between its two ‘end members’ – the magnesium mineral Forsterite and the iron mineral Fayalite. The colour of peridot is determined by the varying amounts of magnesium and iron in its composition and colours can vary from a golden yellow, vivid lime green through to a dark olive green/brown.
Known as being the stone of strength and regeneration certainly comes into play when we learn that Peridot is formed in the Earth’s mantle (thousands of kilometers deep) and is carried to the surface in lava during volcanic activity. Due to their high iron and magnesium content it is thought that Pallasites are also formed within the mantle of asteroids and exposure to high temperatures allows the mineral constituents within to recrystallise forming Peridot crystals. The metal body in which the peridot crystals are suspended is composed of nickel and iron and could potentially exhibit the Widmanstätten pattern if etched as many other iron meteorites, such as Gibeon Meteorite.
The lustrous sea of golden-amber Peridot crystals appear translucent when the Pallasites are thinly sliced. Although the nickel-iron is dense and tough, the Peridot crystals are quite brittle as they contain many internal fractures and inclusions. Given all that they have gone through we can’t blame them for this quality.
Bunny Bedi, owner and designer at Made in Earth, talks about his recent space rock. “I took a risk buying this Meteorite as it is definitely up there as one of our more expensive pieces, but given the success with the Gibeon Meteorite I knew it would be of interest to collectors. The chunkier pieces we set have captured the male gemstone jewellery market with great impact and the delicate slices are an unusual addition for our women’s collection”.
Peridot is a standard stone for most jewellers, but most wouldn’t imagine that it could be found in outer space! Pallasites with their remarkable otherworldly beauty are positively enchanting in our rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets and challenge our perception of peridot as a common stone. It is worth the visit to one of our galleries to see our meteorite jewelry collections and also our Peridot collection to see the difference between this gem created in this world and in outer space.