According to existing gemological data, peridot was mined on the island as early as 1500 B.C .and was resumed as recently as World War II. The initial stones came from a deposit on a small volcanic island in the Red Sea, some 45 miles off the Egyptian coast at Aswan.
The island was described in the ‘Natural History’ of Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.D.) as having been explored in the fourth century BC. It was called ‘The Serpent Isle’ since its many poisonous snakes interfered with mining activity. Eventually, an Egyptian ruler had the snakes killed and kept the miners isolated at work on the island.
Because the rich green stones were so coveted, guards of those deposits were ordered to kill any unauthorized traveler approaching the island.