The name diopside is derived from the Greek word ‘di’ meaning two, and ‘opsis’, meaning vision. It was rightfully given this name because it exhibits two different shades when viewed from opposing sides. Chrome diopside makes an excellent substitute for other green gemstones, mainly emeralds and tsavorites, as it displays the same color at a fraction of the cost. Of all the rich green gemstones, it is the most affordable.
Hardness: Chrome diopside has a Mohs hardness of 5.5.
Color: Chrome diopside is best cut in small sizes, which make its vivid, fresh green color sparkle with brilliance. When preserved in sizes above three carats, the stone actually loses appeal because its color appears as a very dark green and loses its luster.
Birthstone: Diopside is associated with the birthstone month of March and the Zodiac sign of Pisces.
Scarcity: This rare diopside variety is mostly available in small sizes, with larger sized specimens being much too dark for gem use. Chrome Diopside’s rarity has not significantly affected prices and the price remains modest.
Value: Chrome diopside is the most affordable gemstone with a pure rich green color. The main factor determining the value of chrome diopside is the color, with medium dark green stones being the most valuable. The quality of the cut will also significantly influence the value by adding brilliance and scintillation. Specimens that are two carats displaying a rich green color are incredibly rare and demand high premiums.
Most Common Cuts: Diopside can be very difficult to cut properly and therefore it takes a skilled gemologist to handle this stone. To bring out brilliance across the entire face of the gemstones, it must be cut with shallow angles, particularly in larger sizes where the color can appear too dark. The most popular shapes are brilliants, round brilliants, and emerald cuts. Ovals, cushions, checkerboards, and princess cuts are also available.
Chemical Formula: The chemical formula for chrome diopside is ((Ca,Na,Mg,Fe,Cr)2(Si,Al)2O6). It is a calcium magnesium silicate and owes its green hue to traces of chromium.
Synthetic Varieties: There are no known synthetic varieties.
History: Diopside was first described in the 1800’s. Its main source is a remote location in Eastern Siberia, where ironically there is very little green to admire for most of the year. Perhaps to compensate for this bleak winter landscape, rich deposits of a vivid green chrome diopside grace this snowy region as well as impressive diamond deposits. Despite the harsh climate in Siberia, diopside is easy to mine there. When the snow melts in the summer, diopside crystals can be found on the surface of the ground.
The popularity of chrome diopside rose in 1988, when material surfaced in Europe. Dealers there fell in love with the gem’s green color that resembled that of Tsavorite and Chrome Tourmaline but at a fraction of the cost.
Rumored Healing Properties: Diopside has been called the ‘crying gemstone,’ because it is believed to heal trauma by bringing forth cleansing tears. It is also said to spur creativity, aid in matters related to the heart, and improve the wearer’s intellect, particularly in mathematical and analytical abilities. In addition, diopside is believed to alleviate aggression and stubbornness, and some claim that when worn close to the chest (such as in a pendant), diopside can treat health problems concerning the heart, lungs and circulation.