Feature Gems & Gemology, Winter 1981, Vol. 17, No. 4

San Carlos Peridot

Each year basalt-topped Peridot Mesa, on the San Carlos Apache Reservation, is a major source for thousands of carats of gem-quality peridot in sizes suitable for use in modern jewelry.  Marketed throughout the world, San Carlos material is often confused with, and sold as, peridot from localities that are better known and documented. Peridot Mesa resulted from a single volcanic eruption and basalt flow over an already existing conglomerate base; it is thought to be of late Tertiary or Quaternary age. The peridot is found in irregularly shaped nodules within the basalt. The gemological properties and color range of these Arizona gems suggest an olivine that is rich in the magnesium forsterite end member. Inclusions documented are chromite, chromian spinel, negative crystals, "lily pad" cleavages, glass blebs, chrome diopside, biotite, and smoke-like veiling.