St John's Island, Red Sea, Egypt
Thumbnail, 1.4 x 1.3 x 0.4 cm
Ex. Giancarlo Fioravanti
A true Ancient Rarity! St. John's Island, volcanic in origin, is considered the original locality for Peridot and it dates back to ancient Egyptian times. The "emeralds" of Cleopatra were actually Peridot from this locality, as surely were some other "emeralds" of the biblical and Roman eras. Significant, gemmy crystals like this are rare, and with the mine now underwater, any specimens only turn up from old collections. The color is a characteristic lime-green with a hint of yellow compared to Pakistani Peridot, and the habit here is typical of the old style chisel termination. Overall it is clearly distinct from anything modern in origin from Pakistan or Burma, and to me these ring true as the best thumbnails of the species for their historic value, and sharp crystal form. Ex Ahmed (1973) and then Fioravanti Collections. 12 carats in weight - this is an impressive, competition-level thumbnail and a superb example of a truly "antique" classic. NOTE: we purposefully did not clean the specimen. It retains the original pocket dirt from its finding.