Lily pad Like Inclusions in Peridot

Peridot is a light green gemstone with inclusions that are commonly called lily pad like inclusions.  Why do they form?  Can they be found in other gemstones?

Inclusion in Peridot

Peridot Inclusion by J McKercher

Peridot from the Mineralogical Museum in Paris

Peridot Photo by J McKercher

Lily Pad Like Inclusions in Peridot

Gemmologists like inclusions in gemstones.  Inclusions help us to identify gemstones.  Certain gemstones have typical Inclusions.  In Peridot you can often see a discoid cleavage in the classic “lily pad” shape. These formations usually have a tiny crystal near the center.   Sometimes this crystal inclusion is a small black inclusion surrounded by a curved fracture that resembles a lily pad.

These inclusions cannot usually be seen by the naked eye.  Only with the aid of a microscope or a jeweler’s loupe can the details of most inclusions be seen.

Lily Pad in Water

Lily Pad Flickr Photo Travis S

Certain inclusions are typical for synthetic stones.  The inclusion will vary with the method used to produce the synthetic stone.  A piece of coloured glass that is the same colour as peridot would have bubbles or swirl marks, but not the lily pad like inclusion of a natural peridot.

In peridot it is a combination of an inclusion and a stress fracture that has created an inclusion that resembles an aquatic plant called a lily pad.  The inclusion in the center might be an piece of another mineral (such as chromite, spinel or biotite) or it could be a void.  These voids are often referred to as negative crystals.  All gemstones can have inclusions, and many of these have stress fractures.  These fractures can occur when the gemstone is heated in the ground or when heat-treated by man.  Some fractures radiate in a flat, round, disc-like fashion, other fractures take on different shapes.

Although gemmologists are happy to see lily pad like inclusions in peridot, they will also often see mica flakes and minute bubble-like droplets.

Your Input

Peridot Lily Pad Like Inclusion

Lily Pad in Peridot Photo by J McKercher

(Join our poll or Scroll Down To The Bottom and leave a comment) – Emerald is winning the poll! I plan to introduce different gemstones alphabetically.  I started with “A” (Ammolite) and it has taken me to Malachite!  Leave a comment and let me know if you have a favourite gemstone that starts with the letter “Q”.  Take the poll!  Can you name a reference to a gemstone in a song, movie or book?


About Jen McKercher

Jennifer McKercher teaches gemmology at the Canadian Gemmological Association. A passion for gemstones drives Jen to learn as much as she can about the wonders of gemstones and how they enhance our lives.

Posted on January 11, 2012, in Gemmology, Individual Gemstones and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Awesome article…thanks 😃

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