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

Published On: 01-23-2012 01:33am

Comments: 68 - Hits: 0

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 Guest on 06/12/2017 @ 07:00pm

The stone is much too soft to have in a ring! Earrings, ok. Careful when cleaning. Much better to buy a colored lab created cubic for rings.

By Guest on 03/03/2017 @ 09:22pm

Just bought my woman a beautiful ring, 7 stones. The main stone is 121 points. The adjacent 2 stones are 25 apiece and the next 2 fall in a little smaller. I knew nothing of the stones when I bought it. Only paid 30 bucks for it. WOW! She loves it. This has been very informative. thank you

By MaggieMays on 02/14/2017 @ 03:48pm

Responding to guest comment 2/13/17 This large of a gem would have to be identified by a gemologist. Testing is usually done with extreme caution using chemical testing

By Guest on 02/13/2017 @ 10:04pm

I may have a very large uncut clear green CD?, weighs approx. 7#, I am currently trying to get it identified.

By Guest on 11/26/2016 @ 09:21am

Ive just purchased a CD which in the last two months i was introduced to, I'm kinda worried now reading the comments. . So i guess i better baby this gem and look for black inclusion since i bought it from JTV and i purchase a manchurian Peridot with white zircon absolutely beautiful and peridot is my sons birthstone. . Im falling in love with these two different colors of gem.

By Guest on 07/30/2016 @ 06:51am

I have no doubt that chrome diopside was introduced to the west after the Berlin wall came down, but my aunt had several pieces of chrome jewelry that got in Russia long before that. It is a beautiful stone, but be very careful as it is prone to chipping and sometimes even cracks, due to cleavage in the stone.

By Guest on 06/01/2016 @ 09:20am

I love the brillant green color of my CD. i receive so many compliants on my " emeralds " I store my CD away from my other jewels. As a footnote....all stones sshould be cared for gentley as they are all precious. Ann Marie

By Kevan on 04/07/2016 @ 07:20pm

I am a great fan of Chrome Diopside. I own a decent amount of cut material ranging in size from 1.00ct to 8.42ct. The larger stones over 1.50ct can be darker and lighter. My largest is of course darker, but it still has open color. The stones people have been buying from JTV lately should understand they are buying the best of what is left on the market. They still have some great stones, but the best material was able to be purchased mostly before 2015. You can still get some great stones there, but there are far fewer stones than there were with perfect color and that are eye and loop clean as there used to be. Unfortunately the stones of great quality are mined out. (In fact the mine is closed) The one caveat is,if you can afford it, is to go to China an pay a mint for already set stones in 18K + gold and Platinum. A couple of Chinese buyers made a deal with the mine owners to buy out every bit of quality rough from the mine in its last years.

By MaggieMays on 03/14/2016 @ 09:35pm

Response to customer 3/11/16: I can understand when you stated you seen 2 different numbers of Chrome Diopside hardness. CD has a range of 5.5 to 6.0 hardness according to Moh's scale. The range has a lot to do with the stone itself, such as, depth, thickness of stone, whether its a shallow cut, type of cut, etc. As a reminder, there is know to stones exactly alike. As a precaution, CD should be kept away from other jewelry when stored, careful when wearing, esp. a ring, as your stone could chip if by chance you accidentally hit it against a hard object. CD is vulnerable to impact or undue pressure. Diopside is perfectly safe for jewelry as long as it is for occasional use. Gemstone jewelry should not be worn 365/24/7 days and its a good idea to have your piece checked by your local jeweler at least twice a year for loose prongs, scratches, etc. I'm glad to hear that your happy with your CD jewelry piece.

By Guest on 03/11/2016 @ 02:09am

I just received my chre diopside ring I purchased through Jtv. I've always was one. I am very pleased. It was just as described. I came on this site looking for hardness. There are 2 very different numbers given in previous comments, but regardless, I will use caution when wearing as I wish to enjoy for many years to come. Thank you all for the information given. ;)

By MaggieMays on 01/22/2016 @ 05:56pm

Guest 1/22/16: In my opinion only, diopside is safe for jewelry as long as it is for occasional use. CD only has a hardness of 5.5-6 according to Moh's Scale. This is not a very hard gemstone. As for wearing gemstone jewelry everyday - NO! Gemstone jewelry is not meant to be worn 365/24/7 days a week. By doing so your gem can become scratched, chipped, crack and even loss of color can occur.

By Guest on 01/22/2016 @ 05:02am

What is your feeling about setting CD in a ring? Do you think it can be worn every day? I am looking at a halo setting for it.

By MaggieMays on 01/11/2016 @ 09:02pm

Guest @ 1/6/2016: I really can't say since I've never dealt with any of the home shopping networks. As I stated earlier in this blog "you get what you pay for" when it comes to gemstones. You should always have a piece of equipment to look at your gemstone jewelry for blemishes or unusual inclusions. There are a lot of blemishes that are unseen by the human eye. This doesn't necessarily mean that its a bad stone just not one of your better grade stones.

By Guest on 01/06/2016 @ 03:02am

What do you know about the quality of cd that is sold on jtv

By MaggieMays on 12/14/2015 @ 06:02pm

Response to Guest 12/11/15: You have really found yourself a nice size CD. Cleaning wise depends on how dirty it is; you usually can soak your gem in luke warm soapy water (not hot) for about 10-20 mins (again depends on how dirty), rinse, and wipe clean with a lint-free soft cloth or air dry, and you may use a very very soft toothbrush on your gem. But with that size carat of CD and depending on color, clarity, blemishes, inclusions, etc. I would absolutely have a Jeweler have a look at it. Most people do not have all the equipment it takes to appraise a gemstone. Good Luck! Be careful with that gem of yours!

By Guest on 12/11/2015 @ 02:00am

I just purchased a 3 carat from a resale shop, I think I paid too much for it, looking on the web. I'd like to ask a question.. How do I clean it?

By MaggieMays on 11/25/2015 @ 10:12pm

Response to Guest post 11/25/15 - I totally agree! CD is starting to be a very valuable gemstone and who knows if within the next 5 years or so if one will be able to find a good color and clarity CD stone. CD is not the only gemstone that is going to be sky rocketing; watch out for your Manchurian Peridot. A true and genuine Manchurian peridot has already started to become one of the gems that is starting to diminish. Its time to hold on to your green gems!

By Guest on 11/25/2015 @ 08:00pm

I have many pieces in CD and love every last one. I believe the investment will skyrocket in years to come !!

By MaggieMays on 10/12/2015 @ 04:43pm

Guest Comment 10/10/15: You are absolutely right. There are know two gemstones alike especially in color. As far as comparing to emeralds I feel personally this is do to the color of chrome diopside.

By Guest on 10/10/2015 @ 12:40am

I really luv this stone, I would never compare any two gems, each is unique, The green is amazing, only thing it's not that hard so I wear my ring less than rothers I have. I wish people would stop comparing wit Emerald, they two different worlds

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