Peridot vs Moldavite: What Are They, And What’s The Difference?

Peridot and Moldavite are gemstones that have a greenish color, and when tumbled or polished, they are both opaque in appearance.

Both stones are formed by high pressure, but their chemical makeup differs.

Here we’ll examine the differences and similarities between the two, as well as facts about each.

Peridot vs Moldavite (EXPLAINED)

What Is Peridot?

Peridot is a semi-translucent gemstone that forms deep in the earth.

As a variety of olivine, peridot is a rare specimen that may also appear yellowish green or brownish green.

Peridot is lifted to the surface through volcanoes, which is why it is seen in connection with the Hawaiian goddess Pele.

Peridot is not only found in volcanic basalt but also sometimes in meteorites.

Today, peridot is mined in Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Nevada in the United States.

In other parts of the world, peridots are found in places like Australia, South Africa, Egypt, and China to name a few.

Peridot is also called chrysolite.

It is a silicate mineral made up of magnesium and iron.

If a specific peridot has higher amounts of iron, then the result will be a lighter, more yellow hue.

Regardless of outward appearances, peridot has a colorless streak and a vitreous luster.

Peridot is rated 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, and it has a high melting point.

Since ancient times, peridot has been used in jewelry and ornaments.

As a rare gemstone, peridot is valued for its eye-catching color and sheen.

It is used in everything from earrings to talismans and is highly popular amongst people who study the metaphysical arts.

What Is Moldavite?

Moldavite is primarily a silica glass that also contains amounts of iron, magnesium, titanium, calcium, and potassium. 

This unique stone is believed to be nearly 15 million years old.

It was formed in southern Germany when a meteorite about a kilometer in diameter hit the earth.

Due to the heat and pressure of the impact, mixed with the minerals and composition of the meteorite, a new stone was created.

Moldavite is a semi-translucent stone that is often deep green or blueish green in color.

When polished or tumbled, moldavite can appear brighter as its vitreous luster comes to life.

Moldavite is rated 5.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, and it has a white streak.

There are noticeable worm-like markings throughout moldavite which come from winding deposits of lechatelierite.

While moldavite was created from the impact of the meteorite, pieces of the gem went airborne and can now be found in places like the Czech Republic, Bohemia, and Moravia.

Still, a handful of moldavite pieces have been found in northern Austria.

Moldavite is mainly used in decorations and ornaments.

The deep, mossy green appearance of the glass stone makes it an attractive choice for jewelry.

As with other uniquely formed gems, moldavite is used in the metaphysical healing arts.

How Peridot and Moldavite are Similar

Both peridot and moldavite are similar in their colors and chemical makeup.

They are both primarily made from silica, which gives the stones an opaque or vitreous luster similar to glass.

They also contain iron and magnesium.

Likewise, they are similar to each other in their hardness.

The melting point for both is very high, 1200C for moldavite and 1300C for peridot.

Both peridot and moldavite were made from intense pressure and heat that caused the original chemical structure of their parent minerals to change into something new.

While they aren’t identical, both stones are comprised of a majority of silica, which makes them both behave like hardened glass.

How Peridot and Moldavite Differ

Peridot is found all over the world because it comes from volcanic basalt and silica within the earth’s mantle.

Moldavite, on the other hand, is only found in southern Germany and in the nearby regions.

Because of the differing ways that each gem was created, there is a smaller amount of moldavite in a finite area.

Both stones are similar in color, but based on their composition, their hues can differ greatly.

Peridot is known for being bright green and sometimes yellowish green.

Moldavite, on the other hand, can appear dark green or olive green.

Moldavite is also different because of the patterns within the stone, whereas peridot has no noticeable internal patterns.

Peridot is an igneous rock that forms from beneath the earth where minerals melt.

Because of this, Peridot is a pure mixture of not only the afore mentioned silica, but also iron and magnesium.

Moldavite, however, is a tektite, a naturally forming piece of pure glass.

Tektites are created by meteor impacts and may also come from the air-blown debris of broken rocks, vapors, and melted chemicals.

Since tektites are not formed in the earth, moldavite is truly an alien gemstone.

Common Reasons for Confusing Peridot and Moldavite

A well-polished, good quality specimen of either moldavite or peridot can easily be seen as green glass.

It is common to confuse all three.

Peridot and moldavite are regularly used in jewelry and on small ornaments, which can also make telling them apart difficult.

Both are frequently carved into various shapes, and along with green glass décor, the three are indistinguishable.

Scientific methods for telling moldavite and peridot apart are necessary.

Moldavite is slightly softer at a low-end rating of 5.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, while peridot is a 6.5.

The hardest gem known is diamond at 10, and quartz comes in at 7.

Testing a clear quartz on a peridot or a moldavite specimen can show you which is which.

The moldavite will scratch easier and quicker than the peridot.

In Conclusion

While both peridot and modify it have similar appearances to glass because of their silica structure, the two gemstones are entirely different.

Peridot is a rare Jem that can be found around volcanoes all over the earth.

It is a semi-hard stone that does not scratch easily, and often has an opaque to semi-translucent appearance.

It can be yellowish green, pure green, and sometimes brownish green.

Moldavite, on the other hand, is a light green to dark green stone that was formed from a meteorite impact in Germany millions of years ago.

Moldavite cannot be found anywhere else on the planet except in the region where it initially formed.

It is a medium to semi-hard glass stone that may also have worm-like patterns throughout.

Similar to peridot, moldavite will have an opaque to semi-translucent appearance.

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Peridot vs Moldavite