Chrome Diopside is a relative newcomer in the gemstone world, but has attracted increasing attention for its intense green color. It is a relatively soft stone that doesn't qualify for rings or bracelets, but it makes stunning earrings and pendants. Star diopside and diopside cat's eye are a known rarity. An intense deep green reminiscent of tsavorite garnet is the most notable color. Star diopside typically occurs in black. A violet-blue variety is known as violane. Diopside needs special care to avoid scratching it with harder substances, since it is a relatively soft gem. It's advisable to wrap it before storage in a soft cloth to prevent the stones from rubbing against each other. With increasing size of the stone the color of the diopside green appears darker and can turn almost black. The best choice would be a medium sized stone in vivid green color. Chrome diopside has an intense green that compares favorably with tsavorite garnet and chrome tourmaline.
Diopside deposits are found in Austria, Finland, India, Madagascar, Myanmar, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the United States. Chrome diopside has thus far been found only in Russia. Violane is only found in Piedmont, Italy.
Color: Green, yellow, colorless, brown, black
Chemical composition: CaMgSi2O6, calcium magnesium silicate
Crystal system: Monoclinic; columnar crystals
Hardness: 5-6 (Mohs scale)
Specific gravity: 3.22 - 3.38
Refractive index: 1.664 - 1.730
Birefringence: +0.024 to +0.031
Color of streak: White
Absorption spectrum: 505, 493, 446; Chrome diopside: 690, 670, 655, 635, 508, 505, 490
Fluorescence: Violet, orange, yellow, green
In ancient times, some people believed green diopside had fallen from the tree of life and therefore the dead should be buried with a diopside to ensure renewal of life. In some cultures green diopside was associated with peace and tranquility and put on the forehead before rest, in order to ensure sweet dreams.
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