Holst, The National Symphony Orchestra, and Peridot

The Milky Way

Last weekend, the National Symphony Orchestra performed Gustav Holst’s iconic piece The Planets in the Concert Hall at the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The NSO has seldom sounded better than they do this season.  The audience was delighted with an additional rarity in the industry — an accomplished and youthful woman guest conductor. Creative minds often inspire one another; I find evenings at the Kennedy Center to be fantastically inspiring.

John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Holst was a stargazer and lover of astrology and astronomy.  When looking at the sky, he explained that “no planet borrows colors from another.” If you’ve ever heard The Planets, you know that Holst was able to see each part of the cosmos both individually and as a complete unit.

Closer to our home in gemology, we find a few gemstones that arrive on planet Earth from outer space.  Among them is peridot, also called olivine.  This peridot has fallen from the sky on several meteorites.  Known as “pallasitic,” these gemstones have gemological properties that broadly overlap with their terrestrially-formed counterparts.

The Gemological Institute of America’s journal Gems and Gemology detailed the methods for telling the difference between and among pallasitic peridot in a 2011 article. Using very specialized equipment, the presence and concentration of six particular elements is diagnostic in identifying these “gems from space.”

2.26ct pallasitic peridot 

The Intrepid Wendell has also been captivated by the stars, by space, and by this very special peridot.  Among our inventory are some notable examples of pallasitic peridot, which you can see in our office.

“The Heavenly Spheres make music for us” quotes Holst from an ancient Gnostic poem in his 1917 The Hymn of Jesus.  The Intrepid Wendell finds gemstones from the heavenly sphere that inspire another of our senses — these delighting our eyes.

The Intrepid Wendell
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Wendell’s artistically joyful representation of pallasitic peridot on its commute to our office, background photo by NASA

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