Formed deep within the Earth’s mantle, Peridot is the gem variation of the mineral olivine.
Prasiolite is a silicate mineral, also known as the green quartz and is found mainly in Brazilian mines and the lower Silesia of Poland.
The chemical composition of the two may differ, but both of them contain some variation of the color green.
In this article, we will discuss what these stones are, the similarities and differences between the two, the common confusions people have about them, and where best to locate them.
Peridot vs Prasiolite: EXPLAINED
What is Peridot?
Peridot is a type of olivine which mainly comprises of magnesium, iron and silicate, and its iron concentration is what decides how vibrant its green color will be.
It is also one of the few gemstones that only occur in one color, the shade of which can vary from stone to stone, depending on how much iron they have.
It has the orthorhombic crystal system and it is often regarded as the birthstone of the month of august.
In the olden times people used Peridots for its ‘healing properties’ and its ability to drive away nightmares and anxiety.
What is Prasiolite?
Prasiolite is from the family of the quartz gemstones.
There are many names for it, such as green amethyst, green quartz and vermarine and is a silicate mineral chemically silicon dioxide.
It is originally in the form of purple amethyst, which is then treated by either heat or irritation to give off the green color.
Given its name for its green appearance, the word Prasiolite came from Greek, and it literally defines as a “scallion green-colored stone”.
The naturally occurring prasiolite have an almost translucent green color, whereas the artificially synthesized ones tend to be a darker green.
What are the similarities between the two?
One of the most prominent similarity between Prasiolite and Peridot is their green color, even though different factors affect its shade and intensity, both of these gems are known for their green, vibrant color.
Another similarity is that they both are expensive and are often used in jewelry, either for its beauty or for the spiritual belief people have in these gems.
They are both, also not damaged by getting briefly rinsed or cleaned in water.
What are the difference that can be noted?
To test whether a peridot is real or not, it can easily be seen with the help of a jeweler’s loupe, but for prasiolite the case is different.
There is no way to identify if a prasiolite was naturally made or was heated artificially, as the color for both fades over time due to exposure to sunlight.
Another thing to note is that peridot has always occurred naturally, like diamonds, unlike prasiolite which can occur by providing heat and irritation.
The chemical configuration is a thing that also differs between the two, even though both have silicate in their structure, peridot has the additional iron and magnesium in it.
The factors that affect the green color is at odds as well.
The main thing that affects the color of a prasiolite is the type of amethyst used and the heat given to it, whereas for peridot, it all depends on its iron content.
Why do people get confused between the two?
People who either collect stones for fun as a hobby or as a profession such as a geologist often confuse between peridot and prasiolite, the biggest reason being its color, even if they have a variety of green pigmentations, there is no fixed range or color which can identify the both as two separate stones.
Another reason for this confusion is the fact that they are pretty similar in appearance, such as in its endurance.
Although peridot has an orthorhombic crystal system and prasiolite a trigonal, that does not deter the fact that they both are soft stones, with peridot having the Mohs Hardness of a range between 6.5-7 to prasiolite having the hardness level of 7, they are both somewhat soft stones.
Both of them are also dense, as peridot has the specific gravity, which is the weight of a crystal compared to the weight of an equal volume of water, of 3.27 to 3.37.
Although not as dense as peridot, prasiolite is still considered dense with the density of 2.60 to 2.65.
What are they commonly used for?
Both peridot and prasiolite are used as gems to make jewelry for sale and purchase, but industrially, peridot is mainly used as a stag conditioner to purify in industrial processes, and prasiolite as a quartz is used as an input in the manufacturing of cement and various abrasives.
Prasiolite can also be used in tool-making and to supply crystals for radios during the time of world war 2.
Where can these stones be found?
Peridot is one of the two gemstones that can crystalize in the intense heat of the magma, exactly 90 miles below the earth’s surface, only coming to the surface due to volcanic eruptions.
Wherever you find diamonds, you will also find peridot.
They are also found in Pallasite meteorites.
The most beautiful and finest quality of peridot are found in the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan, although the peridot that comes from mogok in Burma is also highly regarded.
Aside from in brazil and in Poland, Prasiolite can also be found in the Thunder Bay area in Canada.
Even though it is rare that prasiolite occur naturally, they can be found in the areas where ancient rocks containing amethyst is heated by the recent flows of lava in a process called geological metamorphism.
Although both peridot and prasiolite may seem similar at first, it is understandable why some people are confused between the two.
As a rock collector it is important to be aware of the slight ways in which both of these differ from each other, what components do they consist of and how those components affect their overall appearance and most importantly, how they came to be, whether it be natural like peridot, or artificial like prasiolite.
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