Gemstone Information: Chrome Diopside - What is it?

| 3 min read

Some gemstones are known the world over. Almost anyone would be able to list a few if they thought for a moment: “Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald…” Then perhaps a few more: “Amethyst, Amber, Pearl, Opal…” But only a real gemstone buff would be able to come up with Diopside (congratulations and a pat on the back if this includes you!) It is such a shame that it is so often overlooked – especially since it is one of the most beautiful green gemstones on the planet. Hailing from Siberia, this rare beauty is also known as Russian Diopside.


rough cut chrome diopside

Calling Chrome Diopside one of the most beautiful green gemstones is a bold claim – there is plenty of exceptionally beautiful competition, from Peridot to Green Tourmaline to Green Diamonds to Emeralds and many others besides. Two things set Chrome Diopside apart – its colour and its clarity.


With lush forest greens with electrifying flashes of scintillation, they are as delicious as any green gem can hope to manage to be. In terms of colour, only the finest Green Tourmalines can hope to match it.


But the real ace up its sleeve is clarity. Emeralds are stunning, yes. Every Emerald has unique inclusions; the fingerprints of Mother Nature run through each and every one. That is what makes an Emerald beautiful and it is really the only gemstone where inclusions are embraced as being a very positive thing. Having said all that, if you prefer a cleaner gemstone without inclusions but with a beautiful deep fern green colour, then you can’t do better than Chrome Diopside. It’s often called the ‘million-dollar Emerald’ – for good reason! To get that rich colour and flawless look in an Emerald, you would be looking at an enormous price tag. But due to its relative obscurity (and despite being extremely scarce) Diopside doesn’t command anywhere near the prices good quality Emeralds do.


A great question (pat yourself on the back again!).

Diopside was first described in the early 1800s and gets its name from the Greek words ‘dis’ and ‘opse’, meaning ‘two faced’ in reference to there being two different ways of orientating the gem before it is cut.

Diopside is found in a few other colours. Usually this ranges from yellow to pale green to bottle green. Black Star Diopside is also found, which has Asterism, which means that a star shape moves across the surface of the gem under a single light source. There have also been a few pieces of naturally blue Diopside found. Most of the colour in Diopside comes from iron impurities in the gem, but Chrome Diopside gets its vivid rich green from chromium – hence its name.

Chrome Diopside should be cut slightly shallower than most gems, due to it having a naturally dark tone. If it is cut too deep, then the colour will be too dark and the stone will lose its brilliance. Since most cutting houses cut to retain as much carat weight as possible, here at Gemporia, we always make sure that all our gemstones are cut to maximise their beauty. For this reason, you might notice that our Chrome Diopside is a little shallower than most of our other gems. There are minor deposits of Diopside producing very small quantities in Sweden, Germany and the USA – however Chrome Diopside comes from a small area in the Inagli River valley, in the Sakha Republic, Russia. The climate here is a difficulty – it is only possible to mine from around June to August every year, making this already scarce treasure even rarer.


Chrome Diopside Jewellery

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