Chrome Diopside Gemstone Information
About Chrome Diopside - History and Introduction
Chrome diopside is a chromium-rich, transparent to translucent variety of gemstone-quality calcium magnesium silicate. It is one of the rarer varieties of diopside and belongs to the pyroxene family of minerals. Diopside is most famous for its attractive forest-green color, but depending on the impurities and coloring agents, diopside gemstones can actually occur in a variety of different colors, including common black to near-black, rare violet-blue and light yellowish-green to medium dark-green. Chrome diopside is an officially recognized variety of diopside and one of the newest gems on the market today. Even though it's considered relatively new, it very quickly made its way into the mainstream gem trade and became one of the most popular green gemstones of today. Despite the widespread belief that green gemstones are common, naturally occurring green gemstones are actually quite rare.
For most of time since its discovery in 1988, chrome diopside was sourced from only one location, Russia's Eastern Siberia. But more recently, other deposits have been found in various other localities around the world, most notably Pakistan, which is now considered a significant supplier for chromium-rich diopside. When it first appeared in the European gemstone market, dealers instantly raved about the attractive glowing green color of chrome diopside and began comparing it to other more expensive green gemstones. Word quickly began to spread that the color of chrome diopside could rival that of tsavorite and chrome tourmaline, but was available at just a fraction of the price. Then, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Russia granted chrome diopside class one export status and it began to flood the international market, aggressively marketed as an affordable alternative for emerald, demantoid garnet and tsavorite garnet. Still to this day, despite its rarity, chrome diopside has remained very much affordable and modestly priced.
With chrome diopside, it is common for color to steadily darken as the size of the stone increases. In many cases, larger stones can be so dark that they can appear to be near black. Unfortunately, in order to achieve the most desirable color, this typically results in faceted stones being under 2 carats in weight. Any faceted stone over 2 carats with a rich medium-dark green color is considered to be very rare. Most diopside occurs very opaque with very little or no gemstone value, but on rare occasion, some opaque, black to near-black materials may exhibit chatoyancy or asterism, which is considered rare and valuable. These are known in the trade as cat's eye diopside and star diopside, respectively.
Identifying Chrome Diopside Back to Top
Chrome diopside is much softer than both tsavorite garnet and tourmaline, and through scratch testing, can easily be distinguished from other similar colored gem types, including emerald. Chrome diopside can be identified from other minerals through its calcium magnesium silicate composition, but can only be distinguished from other diopsides through the presence of chromium. Chrome diopside can also be identified through the observance of its distinct monoclinic crystal structure, which is quite distinguishable from tourmaline's trigonal formation, emerald's (beryl) hexagonal structure and tsavorite garnet's cubic crystals. Some rare diopside may occur with chatoyancy or asterism, which can be identified by its unique reflection of light.
Chrome Diopside Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top
Chrome diopside formation begins within basic and ultra-basic igneous and metamorphic rock. Chrome diopside was for the most time, exploited only from Russia, with the majority of deposits mined specifically from Inaglie, a remote area in Eastern Siberia. However, more recently, small deposits have been found in other localities and Pakistan is now one of the most significant suppliers. A rare violet-blue variety of diopside known as 'violane' is found only in Piedmont, Italy. Rare 'tashmarine diopside' is a brilliant yellow-green variety found only in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Western China. Other varieties of diopside can be found in Afghanistan, Austria, China, Finland, India, Madagascar, Myanmar (Burma), Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and New York (USA).
Buying Chrome Diopside and Determining Chrome Diopside Gemstone Value Back to Top
Chrome Diopside Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.
Chrome Diopside: Varieties or Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
Chrome Diopside Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers Back to Top
As a lesser-known gemstone, diopside hasn't gained much fame as of yet. In ancient times, some people believed green diopside had fallen from the tree of life and therefore the dead should be buried with a diopside to ensure renewal of life. In some cultures green diopside was associated with peace and tranquility and put on the forehead before rest, in order to ensure sweet dreams. Chrome diopside is believed to protect from all evil and bad memories.
The name 'diopside' was derived from the Greek words 'di' and 'opsis', meaning meaning 'two' and 'vision'. Due to the origin of its name, diopside has earned a reputation for being a visualization stone, which is thought to increase creative vision, as well as awareness. It is thought to be able to improve intellect, most particularly mathematical, analytical and statistical ability. In addition, chrome diopside can alleviate aggression and stubbornness, while enhancing the emotions of love and commitment. Physically, chrome diopside is believed to aid with the healing of a few chronic diseases and disorders, including heart, lung and circulatory system problems. Chrome diopside is a stone for Pisces and although it is not an official birthstone for any month, it is still associated with the month of March as an astral gemstone.
Chrome Diopside Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top
Chrome diopside is relatively new to the market, but over the past few years, it has become increasingly popular. It has not yet hit mainstream jewelry stores in everyday designs, but it is slowly becoming one of the most popular green gemstones due to its attractive pricing. Chrome diopside has a relatively low level of hardness, so it is not recommended for rings that are worn daily. However, it is fine for use as pendants, earrings, pins and brooches. Chrome diopside is especially stunning when set in gold.
Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamond by weight in comparison.
Chrome Diopside Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top
Chrome diopside is one of the softer materials available today, so care should be taken when wearing or storing it around other gems and jewelry. It also has a brittle tenacity and a good level of cleavage, so diopside should always be worn with care. Always remove any chrome diopside jewelry prior to playing sports, exercising or performing any household chores. As with most other gems, avoid the use of ultrasonic cleaners and steamers and do not use any harsh chemicals or cleaners, such as bleach or sulfuric acid. Use only a mild soap or detergent and warm to room-temperature water to wipe down your stones with a soft cloth or brush.
When storing your chrome diopside gemstones and jewelry, always store them away from other types of gems. If possible, wrap them individually in a soft cloth or place them separately inside a fabric-lined jewelry box to prevent stones from rubbing against each other.
- First Published: September-12-2006
- Last Updated: May-22-2014
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