Chrome diopside has several origins. Most of the finest chrome diopside material comes from the Republic of Sakha in Siberia, Russia, but production is sporadic due to extreme winters that last more than eight months. This is the only commercially viable deposit. Minor sources of chrome diopside include Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, Italy, Madagascar, South Africa, and the United States.
|Ranking 5.5 on Mohs hardness scale, chrome diopside is moderately soft and collectors of this gem should be mindful of scratching. Avoid abrasives and solvents when cleaning chrome diopside. In jewelry, chrome diopside is best suited to pins, pendants and earrings.|
|Chrome diopside’s rich, vibrant greens rival the beauty of emerald. Chrome diopside color variations range from a vivid, bright green to a dark green that appears almost black. Color is natural and caused by the presence of chromium and, to a lesser extent, iron. |
|Chrome diopside has a rich green color that provides an affordable alternative to emerald. Smaller gems are vivid green and are often used as accent stones in jewelry. Clean, bright stones larger than 2 carats are difficult to find. Larger chrome diopside gems tend to appear blackish green and are not as attractive in color as smaller stones. Lapidaries try to compensate for the tone by cutting large chrome diopside stones with shallower pavilions. Smaller sizes of chrome diopside are still available in the market today but larger stones of good quality are in short supply. Color is unenhanced and is caused by the presence of chromium. The only phenomenon associated with chrome diopside is chatoyancy.|
Name Origin and Meaning
Chrome is a tribute to the chemical element chromium which gives chrome diopside its beautiful green color. Diopside comes from the Greek words dis, meaning ‘double,’ and opsis, meaning ‘vision.’
Discovery and History
Chrome diopside is one of those rare gemstones whose history has truly just begun. The world first heard about chrome diopside in 1988 when rumors of a stunning green gem emerged out of northern Siberia. Due to restrictions caused by the Cold War, access to the area had been very limited. However, the market began opening up after the Berlin Wall fell in late1989.
Supplies of chrome diopside have remained limited, though. The weather conditions surrounding chrome diopside mines are so extreme – yearly temperatures average around 4° F, and lows get down to -50° F – that mining schedules must be restricted or conditions become too dangerous for the miners.
Diopside is sometimes referred to as the ‘crying gemstone’ because some believe it produces tears that can cleanse and heal suffering.
Russian emerald is a trade misnomer for chrome diopside. However, the usage is misleading and should be avoided.