Can Olivine Scratch Glass? (ANSWERED)

Yes, olivine can scratch glass, though it really depends upon the formulation of the glass.

In the article that follows, you’ll learn more about olivine, and why it may or may not scratch glass.

Can Olivine Scratch Glass? (ANSWERED)

Olivine rates about 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.

Glass, on the other hand, rates anywhere between a 5 and a 7 on the Moh’s scale.

This means that a piece of olivine might scratch glass that is softer than the specimen.

But then again, it might not.

In general though, olivine is considered harder than glass, and is often used in industry as an abrasive because of that.

However, because it is only somewhat harder than glass and has a very brittle cleavage olivine can be damaged easily and should be handled with care. 

The Four Varieties of Olivine

There are four varieties of olivine, sorted on opacity, color and where it was found.

Chrysolite, being related to the Greek word for “gold”, is olivine that is more yellowish in color.

Dunite is a solid, grainy mass of olivine.

Olivinoid is the term for extraterrestrial olivine, particularly the kind found in meteorites.

Peridot refers to transparent olivine that is commonly used as a gemstone. 

The History of Olivine

Olivine gets its name from its olive green color, though lemon-lime colored stones are often associated with the name peridot.

This word came from the French variant of the Arabic word “faridat” meaning “jewel”.

They formed on the volcanic island of Zebargad in the Red Sea.

The Ancient Egyptians treasured the pale green gems so much they kept the location of the island a secret.

It is mentioned in Exodus as the stone on the Ephod that represents the tribe of Asher.

The island was rediscovered in 1906, unfortunately leading to the peridot deposits being quickly depleted on Zebargad.

Traces of peridot have been found as a result of volcanic activity on Hawaii, leaving beaches with tiny peridots among grains of sand.

The Natives called them “Pele’s Tears” after their fire and volcano goddess.

In 2011, NASA discovered a developing star has sparkling olivine raining through its atmosphere. 

What is Olivine Made Out of?

The exact chemical make up of olivine is (Mg2+, Fe2+)2SiO4. 

It is a magnesium iron silicate. Besides the expected magnesium and iron, olivine is composed of fosterite, fayalite, monticellite and tephroite.

Olivine has an orthorhombic crystal system. 

The Uses of Olivine

This mineral is hard enough to be used in industry as an abrasive and to make up foundry and refractory sand as well as bricks.

The mineral is also used for slag conditioning, soil conditioning and heat storage.

The thermal shock properties of olivine lead to it being a component in lithium-ion batteries.

When cut and polished as the gemstone known as peridot, it also works as an ornamental jewel.

Also known as chrysolite, this mineral is fairly common not only on Earth but has been found on the moon, Mars, comets and meteorites.  

Where to find Olivine

As said before, the sands of Hawaiian beaches are good places to find peridot, but most specimens will be too small to cut.

(Keep in mind, there is a superstition that a curse will befall anyone who takes stones from Hawaii without paying a tribute to Pele.)

The San Carlos Reservation in Arizona is where many olivines and other minerals can be found.

There are many deposits near the Mexico and New Mexico border.

Mines in Myanmar and Pakistan are where olivine used in marble creation are found.

This igneous rock is often found in basalt but rarely in sedimentary. 

Symbolism of Olivine

When olivine is in the form of a peridot gemstone, it is the birthstone of August.

This includes Leos and Virgos, but the Peridot is more closely aligned with the warm enthusiasm of a Leo.

The stone represents compassion, harmony and letting go of anger.

It was believed that peridot in a gold setting would protect the wearer from nightmares.

Olivine itself was thought to bring happiness and prosperity to its owner.

It was believed to slow the aging process.

Some find meditating over the peridot to have a calming effect.

Though formed in fire, the olivine symbolism can teach us to turn our passions to creation and protection rather than destruction. 

The Care and Keeping of Olivine

The chartreuse olivine is a durable stone but should still be treated with care.

It is very susceptible to damage from heavy blows and harsh chemicals and so should perhaps only be worn on special occasions where it is less likely to be damaged.

If you wear make-up, put it on before you put on jewelry with peridots.

It can be scratched easily by harder minerals so keep peridots separate from them, preferably in a soft cloth or velvet lined box.

Don’t let it get too warm!

Heat can dull the shine of a peridot. 

You can clean a peridot by submerging it in mild soapy water.

The gem should then be rinsed under cool, clean running water.

Dab it with a soft, lint free cloth and leave it out to dry.

Do not use any harsh chemicals or an ultrasonic cleaner as these can severely damage a peridot.

If you can choose the setting of your stone, go for a bezel.

This surrounds the stone and protects it from accidental cuts and scratches. 


Olivine is a stone hard enough to scratch glass, but can itself be damaged fairly easily.

It must be kept cool and away from harsh chemicals.

It can be put in water briefly for cleaning and allowed to air dry after some gentle dabbing.

As the gemstone peridot, it is beautiful but should only be brought out for special occasions, which fits this special stone. 

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