Monday, November 17, 2014
Olivine (French prn. oh-liv-EEN, American/English prn. OLL-iv-ine), named for its light olive green color, is a mineral formation found under the earth's surface. When this mineral becomes gem quality we call it "peridot," pronounced PER-ih-doe, which is the French word for olivine (thus the French "-doe" ending and not PER-ih-dot). This name is also sometimes taken as a variant of Olivia, which didn't actually mean "olive" in the beginning.
Some types of olivine have been discovered on meteors, the moon, Mars, and further into the depths of the universe. It can also be found naturally all over the world, including a beach in Hawaii.
Peridot is the birthstone for August, and was a loved stone of the ancient Egyptians - it may have even been Cleopatra's favorite. Peridot is one of many similar names the gem has gone by, but most sound very close, such as peridon and peritot.
Olivine is an exceedingly rare baby name for girls in the U.S., with an average of 5 or less girls given the name each year. For most years there is no evidence it has been used, as the SSA guards the info for less than five births.