Peridot

Sometimes also referred to as olivine, it is only found in one color–green. This uncommon green color is best known simply as peridot green and it varies from olive to brownish green. This green was highly prized by ancient admirers because it was often thought to be emerald, which is one of the greatest compliments peridot could ever receive. It is the national gem of Egypt, and the ancient Egyptians knew it as the gem of the sun. In fact, jewelry historians are now convinced that some, if not all, of the emeralds that Cleopatra was famous for wearing were not actually emeralds but deep green peridot stones from mines in Egypt. In the middle ages, European emissaries brought back large quantities of peridot stones from their travels to foreign lands and decorated their churches and robes with them. One of these large peridot gems adorns the shrine of the Three Holy Kings in the cathedral at Cologne, and for centuries was believed to be an emerald but has recently been identified as peridot. Peridot, also known to ancient Hebrews, is listed in the Bible as one of the stones used in Aaron’s breastplate and as one of the layers in the foundation of the city of New Jerusalem.