What is Chrome Diopside?

So what is Chrome Diopside? This article will explain all you will ever need know about this beautiful gemstone and help you choose your jewellery wisely.

the facts about chrome diopside

Also known as Russian Diopside, this rare and stunning gemstone is a thing of great beauty. Its gorgeous rich green colour is instantly eye catching and yet it remains one of the lesser known gemstones out there. Chrome Diopside makes fabulous pieces of jewellery and is one of the most affordable brilliant green gemstones available. Chrome Diopside makes a fantastic alternative to Emeralds.

Chrome Diopside – the Facts

What is Chrome Diopside

Emerald Chrome Diopside

Sometimes incorrectly termed the ‘Siberian Emerald’, Chrome Diopside is neither an Emerald nor is it even a member of the Beryl family. Diopside is a calcium manganese silicate and it is the presence of Chromium within the gemstone that gives it its rich green colour.  Interestingly, this is the same element that gives Emeralds their brilliant green colour. The name Diopside basically means ‘double appearance’ and refers to the fact that the gemstone has double refractivity, or that the light splits or doubles when entering the gemstones.

Diopside is an important mineral in the Earth’s mantle and is often seen as an indicator of Diamonds as the occurrence of Diamonds and Diopside are often connected. Some Diamonds may even contain a Chrome Diopside inclusion. In fact, by the end of the 1970’s Russia is described in an article by GIA as one of ‘the world’s most important rough diamond producers’.

Did you know?

  • It has been suggested that Chrome Diopside should become the birthstone of May, although this is not the case at present.
  • Chrome Diopside is similar in colour to Emeralds, yet at a much more affordable price
  • The Chemical composition of Chrome Diopside is (Ca,Na,Mg,Fe,Cr)2(Si,Al)2O6
  • Chrome Diopside is one of the purest semi-precious gemstones available
  • The majority of Russian Diopside is mined in a place called Yakutia in Eastern Siberia
  • Yakutia is the coldest place in the northern hemisphere
  • Yakutia is the place were 99% of Russian Diamonds are mined
  • Chrome Diopside has a hardness of 5-6 on the mohs scale

Chrome Diopside in History

Russian Chrome Diopside

Oval Chrome Diopside

Diopside has been known as the ‘crying gemstone’ as people once believed that the gemstone had the ability to bring forth cleansing tears in the wearer thereby helping them to heal from previous trauma. It has also been believed to protect the wearer from bad memories and helps to protect them from aggressive tendencies. Chrome Diopside has long been seen to increase the wearer’s intelligence and to help improve creativity.

Little else is known about the history of this beautiful semi-precious stone. Whatever its origins, Chrome Diopside is becoming more and more popular because of its beauty and affordability in recent times.

The majority of Chrome Diopside gemstones come from Russia, hence their other popular name ‘Russian Diopside’. Of course, if the gemstones do not originate from Russia then they cannot be named ‘Russian Diopside’. Chrome Diopside is also found in:

  • Burma
  • China
  • South Africa
  • Canada
  • Brazil

What to Look For in a Chrome Diopside

The quality of Chrome Diopside is judged on how it conforms to the 4 C’s in much the same way as the other gemstones.

  1. Colour – The colour of Chrome Diopside should be neither too dark nor too light. Chrome Diopside gemstones of rich brilliant greens are most highly prized. If a Chrome Diopside is too green then the colour can become too dark and can lack sparkle and intensity.
  2. Clarity – Chrome Diopside should be ‘eye-clean’, which basically means that no visible inclusions can be seen to the naked eye.
  3. Cut – The most common cut to find a Chrome Diopside gemstone is the round cut. Other cuts are available but are usually more expensive.
  4. Carat – Chrome Diopside usually comes in small sizes and tends to be less than 1 carat. It is virtually impossible to get a Chrome Diopside gemstone over 5 carats in size and larger gemstones appear darker. The small carat size of Chrome Diopside makes it the ideal gemstone to have in clusters.

Overall, although small in size Chrome Diopside should be attractive in appearance and of a pleasing rich green colour.

How to Care For and Clean Your Chrome Diopside

Despite being relatively soft on the Mohs ‘hardness’ scale, Chrome Diopside is still suitable for use in daily wear jewellery and can be cleaned in a variety of ways. An interesting article in Wikipedia explains that –

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer material.

Chrome Diopside Round

Round Chrome Diopside

The best way to care for your Chrome Diopside is to gently clean it with a soft toothbrush and a little warm soapy water. Chrome Diopside can also be steam cleaned but must never be cleaned by an ultrasonic cleaner.

Diopside is naturally occurring and there is no special care routines required.

As with all jewellery, Chrome Diopside should be stored carefully. Gemstones should never be stored together in a box were they can rub against each other and this can cause them to scratch. Carefully store each piece of jewellery individually or in a wrapping to keep them looking their best.

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