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Chrome Diopside Gemstone Information

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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. 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.

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Identifying Chrome Diopside

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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

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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

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Chrome Diopside Color

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.

Chrome diopside is colored by chromium and can display varying shades of green. The most desirable color is a rich, deep forest green color similar to that of tsavorite garnet and chrome tourmaline. A nice medium-dark green is considered most valuable. Chrome diopside owes its color to trace elements of chromium, which is also the same element responsible for the green in emerald and the red in ruby.

Chrome Diopside Clarity and Luster

Chrome diopside is often available in very high clarity and transparency. Seeing that it is quite affordable, there is no reason to buy anything that is not at least eye-clean. When cut and polished, chrome diopside luster can range from vitreous to dull. Most diopside occurs very opaque with very little or no gemstone value, but on rare occasion, some opaque materials may exhibit chatoyancy or asterism, which are considered rare and valuable. These are respectively known in the trade as cat's eye diopside and star diopside.

Chrome Diopside Cut and Shape

Chrome diopside is available in many shapes and forms, but the most popular cuts are faceted emerald (octagon), oval cushion and round cuts. Some fancy faceted shapes such as trillions, hearts and pear shapes can be found, but are quite rare. Almost all chrome diopside gems will be cut smaller than other gem types, typically weighing less than 1 carat each. Chrome diopside may be cut en cabochon, but this is very rare and perhaps only with lower quality material. Faceting at shallow angles is preferred in order to maximize brilliance and color.

Chrome Diopside Treatment

There are no known official treatments or enhancements for chrome diopside. It is only of the types of gems that remains completely untreated throughout production.

Chrome Diopside Gemological Properties:

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Chemical Formula: CaMgSi2O6, Calcium magnesium silicate
Crystal Structure: Monoclinic; columnar crystals
Color: Green, yellow, colorless, brown, black
Hardness: 5 to 6 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.664 - 1.730
Density: 3.22 to 3.38
Cleavage: Good
Transparency: Transparent, translucent
Double Refraction or Birefringence: 0.024 to 0.031
Luster: Vitreous to dull
Fluorescence: Violet, orange, yellow, green

Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.

Chrome Diopside: Varieties or Similar Gemstones:

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Tashmarine Diopside
Tashmarine Diopside

Diopside belongs to the pyroxene family of minerals. The diopside family is most famous for its attractive forest-green color, but depending on impurities and coloring agents, diopside gemstones can be found 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 can often be confused with hiddenite, moldavite, peridot (olivine), emerald, chrome tourmaline and idocrase as they tend to occur with similar colors.

Most Popular Similar or Related Gemstone Varieties and Trade Names:

Diopside, cat's eye diopside and star diopside are the most popular and well-known trade names of related gemstones.

Lesser-Known Similar or Related Gemstone Varieties and Trade Names:

Tashmarine diopside and violane are the rarest and lesser-known trade names of related gemstones.

Chrome Diopside Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Healing Powers

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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.

Disclaimer: Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers and Properties are not to be taken as confirmed advice. Traditional, Ceremonial and Mythological Gemstone Lore is collected from various resources and is not the sole opinion of SETT Co., Ltd. This information is not to replace the advice of your doctor. Should you have any medical conditions, please see a licensed medical practitioner. GemSelect does not guarantee any claims or statements of healing or astrological birthstone powers and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.

Chrome Diopside Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas

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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 -- even though many softer stones are worn in rings. However, it is fine for use as pendants, earrings, pins and brooches. Chrome diopside is especially stunning when set in gold. If wearing a chrome diopside ring, it is recommended to take extra care to minimize damage to the stone.

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

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How to clean your gemstones 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: January-16-2019
  • © 2005-2019 all rights reserved.
    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
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