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Chrome diopside properties and information

History and General Information of Natural Chrome Diopside Gemstone

Hearing the name chrome diopside conjures up images of many things but definitely not the brilliant green gemstone which goes by this utterly unromantic name.  This dazzling gemstone became popular as a stand-in for the tsavorite garnet, which was in turn a stand-in for the highly expensive emerald. Natural Chrome diopside gemstone is similar to emerald but much less priced.  The gemstone was not very common until 1988, when huge deposits were found in Russia.  With the fall of the Iron Curtain and the opening up of the Russian economy this gemstone was given class one export status, the same as that accorded to emerald, diamond and alexanderite.  This testifies to the importance of the gem in the trade and to the economy of Russia. It is one of those gems which is completely natural, and does not undergo any of the treatments, like heat, oil, radiation or diffusion.

Chemical Composition of chrome diopside

It belongs to the pyroxene family of gems, and is a calcium, magnesium silicate. It displays good pleochroism, revealing different colors when viewed from different directions.

Physical Properties of chrome diopside

On the Mohs scale it has a hardness of 5.5 - 6, adapting well to jewelry.  It is moderately brittle and its cleavability is bidirectional.  It has a vitreous luster and a refractive index of 1.66-1.72 and has a monoclinic crystal structure.  It has a density of 3.29 and a birefringence of .029.

Color of chrome diopside

Chrome diopside displays a rich deep green color and the most valued stones are ones which have a medium dark green tone.  A stone of up to two carats or more becomes too dark due to light extinction, and it is for this reason that most chrome diopsides are small in size. Because of its green color, it is also called vertelite, vert meaning green.


This gem displays its best features when cut in either oval or round shape and because of its two planes, it is extremely important to pay attention to it while faceting. The cutter has to be a specialist, in order to bring out the hues of the gem. Due to this constraint, only about 10 per cent of material can be salvaged from the rough.


Chrome diopside is mainly found in small sizes since in a stone of a bigger size, the deep green is so much enhanced that it loses its charm. Stones of over three carats lose their attractiveness and the best stones are those which come in sizes below three.


It is a stone with few inclusions and when cut finely it is extremely scintillating with a brilliant shine. This brilliance is further enhanced when an expert cutter uses shallow angles to bring out the radiance.

Price of chrome diopside

The stone is relatively low-priced in spite of its brilliant rich green hue which makes it a good emerald gemstone substitute. A fairly good quality chrome diopside of about 3 carats can be bought for as little as 20 USD.


The most important deposits of chrome diopside are in the East Siberian state of Sakha, in a place called Inagli.  This area is famous for its deposits of diamonds. Mining in sub-zero temperatures is an extremely arduous task and the authorities have to take steps to ensure uninterrupted production, in spite of the harsh weather conditions. It is also found in South Africa, Sri Lanka, Finland, Burma and the U.S.


This stone itself is used as a substitute for emerald and tsavorite.

Interesting Trivia and Other Chrome Diopside Facts

This stone is named so on account of the chromium, which imparts to it its deep green color, and diopside which comes from the Greek word meaning ?double appearance.? Due to its relatively low hardness when compared to the tsavorite, it is used mainly in pendants, earrings and brooches, while its application in rings is rare, because of the fear of wear and tear.

The cat?s eye effect is also found in chrome diopside, which is a rare stone. In gem therapy, it is valued for its ability of intellectual development and increasing analytical skills. Wearing a chrome diopside also keeps one safe from bad and unpleasant memories. On account of its green color, which is associated with healing, it is recommended during recuperation.

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