People have been mining peridot for over 5000 years. Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) was a Roman naturalist who wrote one of the first encyclopedias. He wrote that Egyptians had been mining peridot for thousands of years on the island of Zagbargad, (now known as Zebirget or St Johns Island) in Egypt. There is a story that the island was once infested with pit vipers and soldiers were brought in to eradicated the snakes so that the mining of peridot could continue safely.
The crusaders brought peridot to Europe, calling it the emerald of the crusades. But two centuries later, the Spaniards began mining high quality emeralds from South America. This reduced the popularity of the paler green peridot.
Peridot makes an excellent stone for faceting into fine gemstones because it has an unusually high refractive index, which basically means it reflects light well and is very sparkly! I love using peridot because its a really subtle shade of green, not too overbearing or vibrant. And it works so well with both gold and silver and goes beautifully with other materials such as freshwater pearls.