Russian Chrome Diopside - What Is It? Where Does It Come From?

Published On: 01-22-2012 06:33pm

Comments: 31 - Hits: 48897

Category: Gemstone Jargon

What is this green gemstone that everyone is calling "Russian Chrome Diopside"! Why are so many people trying to purchase it and for what reason? I'm going to try and explain this wonderful green gem.

Then, in 1988, rumors of a momentous new green gem from Russia started circulating in the trade. Dealers who saw this material when it first surfaced in Europe raved about the resemblance of its color to that of tsavorite and chrome tourmaline and raved as much about its price: only a fraction of these gems. After the wall fell and dealers began exploring the new possibilities for marketing Russian gems, the rush was on. Since then, Chrome diopside has been granted class one export status among Russia's mineral resources, a ranking that includes Diamond, Emerald, and Alexandrite.

Chrome Diopside Mines are found near kimberlite shafts near the mountains in Siberia. The mining of Chrome Diopside can be very tough to do. In sub-zero temperatures, a man's strength is diminished greatly. That is one reason why it is only mined three months out of the year, July - August.

Chrome Diopside forms in basic and ultrabasic igneous and metamorphic rocks. 
Most Chrome Diopside is mined in a remote area in Eastern Siberia known as Inagli, which is in the state of Sakha.  The area is better known for its impressive diamond deposits. In Siberia, there isn't much green to admire for most of the year. Perhaps in compensation, nature placed rich deposits of a vivid green chrome diopside in this snowy region to delight the eye during the long and hard winter months. This challenging landscape is home to the world's major deposit of chrome diopside.

Many gem names are taken from the French language - but you'll notice that the name Chrome Diopside is not nearly as beautiful as some other gem names - however, don't let that fool you because this gem is incredible. Chrome diopside glows with green. In fact, when its color is less than ideal it tends to be from too much green rather than too little. This is more likely to happen in sizes above two carats: the green can be so dark it can look black.

Chrome Diopside makes an excellent substitute for other green gemstones, mainly Emerald and Tsavorite, as it exhibits a similar color at a fraction of the cost. In fact, Chrome Diopside is the most affordable of all the rich green colored gemstones. Chrome Diopside is not treated. Unlike most other gems, which are heated, irradiated or oiled - there is absolutely NO treatment given to Chrome Diopside.

Chrome Diopside is a beautiful green stone. It is highly refractive which gives it great sparkle (nearly twice the refraction index compared to emerald). It is rare! Diopside is found all over the planet, but the rare top-gem-quality chrome diopside is found in Siberia. In Siberia, it is too cold to mine during the winter, making an extra task of keeping production levels even throughout the year. On the MOHS scale of hardness, it is rated a 6-6.5, and is suitable for jewelry.

It is best to cut the diopside in shapes with rounded corners -- such as oval or round. It has two planes, so you have to be extra careful when you facet it. This is also why there is approximately 90% loss on the rough. (So to cut 10 carats of polished Chrome Diopside will require 100 carats of the rough.)

A faceted cut with shallow angles is needed to improve both the brilliance and the color of the stone, particularly in larger sizes where the color can appear too dark. Popular cuts for chrome diopside include oval, cushion, emerald cut (octagon), and rounds.  Chrome Diopside is also occasionally cut into cabochons. The best shape to cut chrome diopside in is oval, and round. Anything with a rounded edge is easier and provides a better return on the rough. However, due to demands in the jewelry industry, it is cut into all shapes; but remember some may be darker than others.

But chrome diopside in small sizes jumps with vivid, fresh green color and sparkles with brilliance. It is the most affordable gemstone with a pure rich green color. It's availability makes it the perfect green gem for stud earrings and pendants.

Here is a pair of stud earrings that show a beautiful and rich color of green.

Here is a 1.50 carat chrome diopside gemstone:


Here is a 14 carat chrome diopside in which you will see how much darker it is compared to the 2 carat:


Chrome Diopside is in the pyroxene group of minerals, and has PRISMATIC CLEAVAGE, which means the angles of cleavage are 87 degrees and 93 degrees (almost perpendicular). This makes it a very difficult gem to facet. But at the same time, it has about twice the refraction of an emerald, giving it a brilliant sparkle.

Chrome Diopside being an all natural untreated gemstone with no heat, no radiation, no diffusion and no oils are used. This makes Chrome Diopside the most pure semi-precious gem available.

Mythology of Chrome Diopside

The name Diopside is derived from the Greek word 'di' meaning two, and 'opsis', meaning vision.

Diopside is believed to be a creative stone, increasing creative visualization and helping to manifest desired goals. It has also been said that it can improve the wearer's intellect, particularly with regards to mathematical and analytical abilities. In addition to this, Diopside is believed to alleviate aggression and stubbornness, and is said to be related to love, commitment, and the inner heart.
Chrome Diopside is believed to protect the wearer  from all the evil and bad memories. It is even associated with healing of a few chronic diseases.

Physically, Diopside is believed to heal the heart, lungs, and the circulatory system. It is also believed to aid with psychological disorders and weaknesses.

I know this is a lot of information to take in all at once; but I hope this gives you some clarification on this wonderful green gemstone.

Think of it this way:

Consider a garden: bright colors, pastels of the flowers and how beautiful they look against the rich green foliage. Perhaps this is why the rich green of chrome diopside can be worn with anything from casual day wear to elegant evening attire.

MaggieMays Fine Jewelry

Reader's Comments

By MaggieMays on 07/18/2014 @ 06:19pm

If your looking to have a individual gemstone(s) appraised, I suggest you take them to a certified gemologist/jeweler. I purchase my gemstone(s) directly from the mine, chemically test for authenticity, clarity, color, blemishes, unusual inclusions as stated in remark dated 2/14/13.

By Guest on 07/18/2014 @ 12:55pm

Where do you go to get loose gemstones appraised.

By Guest on 06/07/2014 @ 05:33am

Thank you for the information on ChromeDiopside. I found it very interesting and helpful. It is a beautiful color green.

By Guest on 05/30/2014 @ 06:21am

I'm am just beginning my dig into chrome over last two years. I do believe chrome will begin, what will be, a long climb up the "cost" ladder of gems. The mine now closed due to a death, and family not willing to re-open, nor sell...our days of current chrome prices are limited. When, and it will, re-opens, be prepared for this phenom to be, as the buyers cost will be it's first true indicator of the value and brilliance of this stone...which is remarkable!!! To say the gems seem to always rally, and this will again be true with prepared!

By MaggieMays on 03/31/2014 @ 02:49pm

Response to Guest comment 3/28/14: You can Google "Chrome Diopside" or "Russian Chrome Diopside" and it will give you various sources.

By Guest on 03/28/2014 @ 09:46pm

Where are they available?

By Guest on 02/26/2014 @ 05:06pm

Chrome diopside fantastic

By Guest on 01/17/2014 @ 05:55pm

Have 2 Ting& a pair of 2c stud earrings they out shine my emeralds very happy with this gem I

By MaggieMays on 01/08/2014 @ 08:19pm

In response to guest comment 1/08/14. I'm not familiar with LC tv. Remember, you get what you pay for! There is no way of knowing if this is a quality Russian Chrome Diopside gem or has any unseen blemishes or inclusions without using magnification; chemical testing for authenticity. Be careful what you purchase!

By Guest on 01/08/2014 @ 05:41pm

I'm watching LC tv..they are selling what they claim to be Russian Diopside with sugg retail prices in the High 100,s for as little as 49.99. Really?? $600.00 rings for 50.00 ??? I want to hope. it's true, but it sounds too good to be true, and, you know what they say! So, what do YOU say? Are you familiar wit LC tv? is this legit?

By MaggieMays on 11/14/2013 @ 08:38pm

In regards to guest question "How difficult is it to repair scratched or chipped diopside?" In my professional opinion, it is best left up to a experienced jeweler and/or gemologist. If a faceted gemstone has 'scratches', it is possible to make your gem look like new again by finding each flat facet and re-polishing it, again, this should only be done by a jeweler or gemologist who has the right tools. Chrome Diopside is considered a relatively soft gemstone, with a hardness of only 5.5 according to Moh's scale. With this in mind, diopside is best suited to be used in earrings or pendant necklace, rather than in a ring which will receive a lot of wear. If you do have and wear your chrome diopside gemstone in a ring, even for occasional wear, they will most likely have to be replaced from time to time. Diopside can scratch, chip or even crack with normal day-to-day wear; all it takes is one good bump. All character qualities of your gemstone must be taken into consideration when deciding what kind of care and precautions you should take for your fine gemstone jewelry.

By Guest on 11/13/2013 @ 10:44pm

How difficult is it to repair scratched or chipped diopside?

By MaggieMays on 09/26/2013 @ 06:31pm

Response to guest comment, 9/24/13. I'm glad that you like your chrome diopside ring. Also, I hope MaggieMays informative blog post on diopside has given you the information you've been looking for on this beautiful gemstone. Emeralds are considered one of your most precious gemstone's which falls in with your rubies, sapphires and diamonds. When purchasing a gemstone(s) you must remember that their price is based on color, clarity, grade, cut and so many other factors that go into the price of a gem. FYI: Please remember that both a emerald and chrome diopside are considered a moderate to soft gemstone; meaning that they can easily become scratched or even crack from continuous wear and tear. Gemstone jewelry is not meant to be worn 365/7/24 days a year and should be checked by your local jeweler at least once a year or sooner depending on how often you wear them.

By Guest on 09/24/2013 @ 12:50am

I have just bought a ring with diopside stones. It was bought as a secondhand ring and so, so pretty. It puts my emerald ring to shame for its beauty and yet it was so inexpensive. I had to look up "diopside" as I had never heard or seen this stone before.

By MaggieMays on 04/16/2013 @ 07:01pm

In response to Guest question dated 4/15/13. It would be your personal preference, how much your looking to spend, etc. I, personally, can not tell you what the best source would be but can direct you to a website that has a mine in Siberia, Russia; which of course is where chrome diopside comes from. It is called "The Diopside Mines": You may contact them directly with any questions you may have through email: Russian Chrome Diopside is now considered a scarce gemstone and most of what is being mined can not even be used do to the fact that what is being found is too dark.

By Guest on 04/15/2013 @ 09:52pm

I am looking to buy wholesale this gem ,which is the best source.

By MaggieMays on 03/18/2013 @ 07:26pm

In response to Guest question dated 3/18/13. Their is not a way for me to know what the carat would be by just stating the millimeter size. My first suggestion would be to have your gem tested which would show you if you actually have a genuine "Russia Chrome Diopside." You don't usually see chrome diopside is such a large size such as yours; larger stones tend to be too dark because the saturation of the gem becomes so intense. As a result, gem cutters will often cut chrome diopside slightly shallow to lighten the color. Usually when purchasing a 5 carat or higher chrome diopside the color will become so deep and dark it will almost look black. Gemstones should be cut with proper proportions to maximize the light that is returned to the eye. But gem cutters or lapidaries often have to make compromises when cutting a particular piece of material. If the gem color is quite light, cutting a deeper stone will provide a richer color. Conversely, a dark tone can be lightened by making a shallower cut. But in every case, the facets should meet cleanly and the surface should be well polished with no scratches In regards to carat size: you have to take into consideration the cut (round, square, marquise, etc) of your gem, is it proportioned correctly and it greatly depends on depth of the stone, etc. Each type of gemstone has different weights, for instance, a ruby is heavier than emerald, so a 1-carat ruby will have a different size than an identically shaped and proportioned emerald; the ruby will be smaller in size, since it is heavier. Scarcity of certain sizes among the different colored colored stones affects the definition of large in the colored gem market. My suggestion would be to take it into a jeweler especially since your talking about a 43mm size stone. Your jeweler would most likely have to remove your gem from the casting in order to get the correct information. I would love to hear back from you once you receive the correct and final information on your gemstone.

By Guest on 03/18/2013 @ 09:42am

I just purchased a 43mm Chrome Diopside pendant for my wife from an Estate Auction in England. Any idea of how many carats a 43mm "CD" is?

By MaggieMays on 02/14/2013 @ 07:51pm

To Guest Question dated 2/14/13 - It is quite hard to make a assessment of any type of gemstone without performing testing or magnification. If your first ring was actually a pave' setting this would refer to a jewelry mounting technique which involves setting small stones very close together so that no or little metal can be seen between them and the effect is a dazzling color of brilliant gems. So you see between your two rings, you actually have different cut of gems and mountings. A jewelry setting can hide the inclusions inside a gem, and can deepen or brighten its color, such as, a pave', it brings out more sparkle and brilliance compared to a solitaire. Chrome Diopside is usually available in smaller carat sizes because the color of the stone steadily darkens as the sizes increase. Chrome Diopside should glow with green. In fact, when its color is less than ideal it tends to be from too much green rather than too little. This is more likely to happen in larger sizes, usually 2 carats or above; the green can be so dark it can look black. The green color of this gem is caused by the element Chromium, a larger size may have much more of the element. It can also depend on the origin; Main source is mined in a remote area in Eastern Siberia known as Inagli, which is in the state of Sakha, Russia. Also found in India, South Africa, Finland, USA, Burma, Madagascar and Italy When you look at a gem in the light you usually do see color difference as light brings out brilliance, clarity, luster, etc., but you also have to take into consideration the grade, cut, inclusion(s) and much more which can only be seen under strong magnification and not by the human eye. Their are many factor's that need to be taken into consideration for a true assessment. I, personally, in my Russia Chrome Diopside Jewelry, try to stay in between a light medium to medium color gemstone with good clarity, cut, grade, luster, brilliance, etc. Remember though, I perform many tests and inspect my gems under strong magnification; and than only use the highest quality stone(s) depending on test results.

By Guest on 02/14/2013 @ 07:05am

Some time ago I purchased a chrome diopside ring that was more or less a pave design. The stones were a beautiful green. So when I got the opportunity to purchase a 3.70 solitaire I bit the bullet and brought it. When it arrived, the stone was so much darker than the first ring. Under the light the green is pretty but without the light it shows dark dark green. What is your assessment as to the quality of the stone?

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"I cannot say enough good things about Marge, the lovely lady who sold me this beautiful emerald. She is one of the nicest people I have ever met. She made sure I knew what I was getting and went out of her way to get me this stunning emerald pendant! The color is just beautiful and I could not be happier! Just perfect! A very professional seller who knows what she's talking about-I encourage you to check out her shop. Many thanks Marge!!!"

"Amazing artist.. perfect order, fast shipping and extremely pleasant to work with. Highly recommended artist."

"Shopping at MaggieMays was a great experience! Marge is very knowledgeable and answered my emails and any questions quickly and professionally. The emerald pendant is just beautiful and MaggieMays gets a perfect score from me! I highly recommended MaggieMays if you are shopping for a beautiful, fine quality piece of jewelry. And thank you for the free shipping special-what a nice surprise!"

The lovely Chrome Diopside ring (1 stone + 4 around it) plus the Ruby pendant, plus the re-mounted Lapis Lazuli in the fine sterling silver mount, all received on time and all excellent. Thank you, Marge

Dear Marge, Splendid to talk with you and Don. I truly appreciate the care and detail with which we can make our informed decisions.

Thank You, The necklace arrived promptly and was well packed. I gave the necklace to my daughter for her 22nd birthday. She loves the necklace and the chain as well. Also, she has sent me several links to your website for future gifts.

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Your jewelry is beautiful!

MaggieMays Thank You for such a lovely and beautiful Sri Lanka Sapphire Necklace; your quality, expertise and knowledge certainly shows in your design's

Margaret, Did receive the ring. I Love it! The color is beautiful. Been wearing it since I received it. Thanks for quick service. So appreciated!

Unclassified! Received the necklace. Thank You so much.

I ordered this beautiful Mandiore Ametrine White Topaz Ring. From the minute I ordered, I was receiving communication from MaggieMays about when it would be shipping, how to care for it properly, and when it was shipped. I received it within a few days of order and it is stunning; just a beautiful piece. I have several pieces of gemstone jewelry, but have never been given tips on how to care for it. The service was great and I have a ring that I will treasure. I love it!

Hi Marge, I received the ruby earrings and they are gorgeous! Thank You for the tips on taking care of the earrings.

"I recently bought a beautiful multi gem silver necklace from MaggieMays and couldn't be happier with the necklace or the service. I was contacted by Marge Pierson direct from MaggieMays and we had a couple of lovely email chats about the necklace and the method of shipment, as I live in Australia. Marge went to the trouble of exploring all the shipping options and kept me informed all the way. She posted me the necklace and it arrived about a week later, intact and well packaged. The necklace is absolutely beautiful and I have had so many comments about it whenever I wear it! I would definitely shop at this site again."

Customer commented: The Amethyst bracelet you sent looked amazing on her wrist! She really enjoys her new piece. The communication throughout this whole transaction was great! The packaging was very good and allowed her new bracelet to arrive unharmed and looking exquisite. I would definitely shop with you again and have told a few friends about my experience. In good regards, Thomas

Beautiful as are all of your wonderful pieces, Margaret. I especially like the delicate pink coloring of this rubellite tourmaline earring set. :-)

Comments received on Fluorite and Blue Topaz Necklace: Judith - That is absolutely out of this world beautiful! Pam - So pretty!! Dana - very pretty!! Charlene - Knocked my socks off and I pinned it too :) Sonja - Very Pretty! Pam - So Pretty! Dianes Dangles - Blue Fluorite is so pretty! Love this necklace; Karen - This is such a beautiful necklace Margaret, as all your pieces.

It was an absolute pleasure dealing with Marge at MaggieMays. She responded to my questions promptly regarding a moonstone pendant and earring set. The jewelry is stunning and Marge went "above and beyond" answering my many questions about the stones and how to care for my new jewelry. I've completed many transactions on the web, and this was by far one of the most pleasant. ~ Carol K, San Diego,

Hi Marge, Thanks so much for your "above and beyond" assistance with this transaction. I'm too old to say this phrase, but that won't stop me, you ROCK! That's a good thing!

Just received your package. The set is gorgeous, completely different from my original moonstone from the 1980's. Maybe because mine isn't faceted? Or is this set moonstone/topaz? Doesn't matter. I just love It. Very sparkly!! Thank you so very much for your above-and-beyond communication on this transaction. You are a true asset to buyers.

"David Salerno here: i think you have some beautiful jewelry designs! I just followed you on Twitter so I can tweet your wonderful merchandise and I wish you great success and prosperity in the future!"

Absolutely beautiful creations Marge! Very nice looking Artfire shop too!

"Marge, thank you for your continuous communication, distinct and informative information about fresh water pearls. I've been looking for just the right soft color of pink pearls for years and MaggieMays has made my dream come true. You have exquisite and beautiful fine jewelry that is nothing less than high quality. Thanks for sending on how to care for my pearls. I will definitely let my friends know about MaggieMays jewelry and be shopping with you again. Elizabeth

Excellent. I understand (and appreciate highly) your report of your careful observations about the quality of the central Chrome Diopside stone. "Marvelous match in style and joyful green/silver presentation, to the Chrome Diopside ring. The ring is a success, in silver, and with the central beautiful stone surrounded by 4 smaller stones, all Chrome Diopside. Overall, a "vintage" style feel. Your eye for the character and quality of stones is superb.Thank you!!!" Atsuo Kuki

Hi Marge, Received the earrings Saturday. They are beautiful. My wife loves their color. Thank you so much for getting these out to me so quickly. All was perfect ,from ordering on line to seeing the ear rings in my hand. They make an excellent gift. Drew

The pendant has been received in excellent condition and is exactly as described. Marvelous! And again, a beautiful green. The perfect match with the ring makes me look like (!) I know what I am doing with my choices for jewelry...Thank you for your swift action and uncanny knowledge of stones and their subtleties, Sincerely - Atsuo Kuki

I received the Moonstone Necklace. It's much more impressive than the pictures on the web can capture. It is a Christmas gift for my wife and I know she will love it too! She had commented on liking a similar stone she saw on that new gem hunter TV show. Your website made it easy to acquire. Thank you for following up to make sure I received it on time. Also, I give MaggieMays a perfect rating of 5 stars for item as described, customer communication, shipping and packaging!, Craig

Margaret, I would rate MaggieMays with 5 out of 5 stars in all categories; Customer experience and expectations were surpassed, Packaging was superior, Shipping was perfect and right on time, could've even been later, Free gifts and thoughtfulness of wrapping paper were a very nice touch. Thank you for the wonderful experience, Scott

I did receive it. I think my mom's going to love it. Very pretty. I want to thank you for the great communication regarding this transaction. One of the best shopping experiences I have had on the internet. I can highly recommend your store, and have!, Tom L.

WOW! Super fast shipping - THANKS! Thank you for the great customer service. I am taking this gift to the UK as I am buying it on behalf of my brother who saw it and thought it was fabulous. Trish

My life loved the necklace!! Just the right thing. Thanks so much. Please use the following for website reviews. "Artfire customer service and products are amazing. Five stars all around!! I had a great experience buying my wife the perfect birthday gift enhanced by Artfire's personal communications and attention to special requests. I look forward to using Artfire many times in the future." Peter Haase


Dear Marge You have been more than helpful and I now feel that something can be done for my Golden Coral ring. Tonight I polished it with mineral oil as suggested and can no longer see or feel the cracks. The coral has taken on a lustre that I not seen for many years. As the coral has no backing, the mineral oil was applied there as well. I feel the setting of the coral is protective and that is why it has survived 35yrs of wearing. The gem does not sit high above the 'cage' like surround which is a very plain 18ct gold. Your information has given me much hope. I shall keep your company website as I do like contemplating and admiring the offerings. Thank you, Judeth M Materna, Sydney, Australia

Hello Marge, The time came this past weekend in New York City when I gave the Sri Lanka Rainbow Moonstone Pendant to my girlfriend. I wanted to send this communication to you to validate you and your husband's wonderful efforts in crafting jewelry. My girlfriend just absolutely loved the necklace. She was so thrilled to receive it from me. While she was stayed in Sri Lanka for some months, she was within some miles of Meetiyagoda, Sri Lanka, along the coast. She loved her time in Sri Lanka and I know receiving a rare piece of jewelry from a mine so close to her friends was very special to her. Thank you both again for crafting such a wonderful piece of jewelry and bringing a huge smile to my girlfriend's face! :-) Scott Taylor