The treasure was kept secret from the Western world for centuries, more precisely, from Biblical times until the seventeenth century. The mines were re-discovered at the turn of the 20th century, they were active from 1906 until World War I and afterwards until World War II. Early deposits have now been completely exhausted.
Max Bauer, a renowned contemporary gemologist and historian argued that ‘most probably the old peridots were mistakenly identified as topaz, deriving their name from the island’s former name ‘Topazos’. This argument, however, has since remained a subject of controversy.