Tuesday, August 9, 2011

CHROME DIOPSIDE - One of a Few Green Stones !

Chrome Diopside is a rich, emerald green variety of the mineral Diopside which derives its color from chromium. Chrome Diopside is a common constituent of peridotite xenoliths, and dispersed grains are found near kimberlite pipes, and as such are a prospecting indicator for diamonds. Occurrences are reported in Canada, South Africa, Russia, Brazil, and a wide variety of other locations. A recent Russian find in 1988 is the current source of the Tsavorite-like stones that are gaining in popularity and recognition today.

As beautiful as the material is, its use in rings is risky at best. A hardness of (5.5-6), moderate brittleness, and cleavability limit its use to pendants, brooches and earrings unless placed in highly protective settings and given gentle treatment. For these other uses, though, the stone is beautiful and very under-appreciated. However good cutting is important as this variety, especially in larger sizes, can be very dark. A good cut with fairly shallow angles can improve the brilliance. Cabochons can be extremely distinctive and very attractive.

A well cut piece of chrome diopside is a beautiful sight to behold, and a reasonably priced alternative to a Tsavorite Garnet or Chrome Tourmaline. The prime value factor for this gem is color, with medium dark green stones at the top. Such a stone in a larger size (2 cts or more) is especially rare since so many larger pieces suffer from light extinction and are very dark.

Cat's eye stones bring a premium price. Fine cutting enhances value considerably by adding scintillation and brilliance. Collectors eagerly look for this rare cat's eye form of Diopside.

Gemstone quality Diopside is found in two forms: the Black Star Diopside and the Chrome Diopside.

Be careful to not confuse Chinese Diopside, which is a calcium magnesium silicate and a much lighter shade of green, almost a yellow-green color. Several sellers refer to this material as Shanseres.