Chrome Diopside Information
Siberian Emerald is the more attractive name given to Chrome Diopside: 'Chrome' denoting green and 'Diopside' the mineral itself. The word ‘Diopside’ originates from the Greek words 'Disopse:' 'Dis' for twice and 'Opse' for face: an allusion to the prismatic shape of Diopside crystals.
Diopside is primarily known in the gem and jewelry market for the forest green Chrome Diopside
. The green color results from trace elements of chromium within the Diopside. These intense forest greens are totally natural; Chrome Diopside is neither treated nor enhanced, unlike 99% of gemstones on the market today.
Nearly all gems including diamond, sapphire, ruby, garnet and tourmaline undergo some form of treatment to intensify their colour and clarity. A tiny percentage of these gems are found in near perfect ‘natural’ state, but these untreated gems are so rare their prices are out of this world. This is where Chrome Diopside beats them all: Not only is Chrome Diopside an intensely coloured 'natural' gem, it stays totally affordable within a low to mid-range pricing bracket. This is due to its relatively recent discovery, but Chrome Diopside's value is set to increase and its cost won't stay low for long.
With absolutely no treatment, the color and clarity of Chrome Diopside is solely improved by careful shallow faceting: The better the cut, the better the color and the higher the value. Most Chrome Diopside, in the desired forest green will typically be in sizes of approximately two Carats, over this size Chrome Diopside is rare but still affordable.
The forest greens of Chrome Diopside are presented in various cuts. The greatest availability is in the form of the Octagon or Emerald cut, followed by Ovals and Rounds. Besides these standards, green Chrome Diopside also comes in Fancy cuts like Pear, Trillion and Heart shaped cuts.
Examining a well faceted Chrome Diopside Octagan cut gemstone, you will see a vitreous luster with a high refractive index, resulting in very high clarity and transparency. Eye-clean Chrome Diopside, with inclusions visible only under magnification, is the accepted standard.
Besides the characteristic green, Diopside is also found as a colourless to white gemstone and also reveals itself in brown, yellow, blue and violet-purple. This violet-purple, manganese rich Diopside sourced from Piedmont, Italy, is termed Violane and is becoming increasingly popular. Recently, sources located in Uzbekistan have yielded a lighter yellow-green Diopside, which has been coined ‘Tashmarine Diopside,’ named after Tashkent, the capital city of Uzbekistan.
A particularly striking Diopside variant is Star Diopside which is typically dark green to black. The gem is cut and polished in ‘cabochon’ style bringing out the asterism; this enhances an optical illusion where a four-rayed star is seen to glide across the surface of the gem when viewed from different angles.
Chrome Diopside, as its alternative name of Siberian Emerald suggests, originates from the frozen tundra of Siberia in the Republic of Sakha, Russia. This is home to the world’s best grade Chrome Diopside and for the moment the only commercially viable deposit. Interestingly, this area is also sourced for diamonds unearthed from Kimberlite pipes: formed from extinct Volcano lava tunnels. Chrome Diopside is often found in these same geographic features in both igneous and metamorphic rock.
These Diamond laden Kimberlitic pipes are often open-cast, surface exposed mines, opposed to underground. Due to this method, and the harsh surface conditions of Siberia where temperatures regularly drop to -50 degrees Celsius during the eight month long winter, sourcing Chrome Diopside is limited to the summer months.
Besides the Siberian source, other significant deposits of Chrome Diopside are found in Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. Other localities of note are Italy, Austria, Finland and India.