Chrome diopside has a beautiful rich green color and a reasonable price. It is one of the most affordable rich green gemstones. Chrome diopside is mostly available in small sizes: in the rare large sizes, the colour actually becomes so rich that it is too dark. But for bright green accent stones, chrome diopside is ideal. However, it is relatively soft, with a hardness of only 5.5, so it is a better choice for earrings or a pendant than for a ring which will receive a lot of wear.
The deep rich green of the Siberian stone is due to chromium, the “chrome” of this gem’s rather inelegant name. You might ask why this pretty green gem has been saddled with a name that soulds like a rust protectant? Because the first market for any gem is gem dealers. And to gem dealers, chrome is a magic word: the gem ingredient that is the source of the most spectacular gem colors. Chromium gives ruby its red, emerald its green, and alexandrite both red and green. Chrome tourmaline is the greenest of tourmaline. To a dealer’s ear, “chrome diopside” means this diopside gem will not only be green, it will be a rich saturated green. A green with impact, the green of money.
In fact, if anything, chrome diopside has too much green. Sizes over three carats steadily darken until they lose life, making chrome diopside with the dream green only available in small sizes.
Chrome diopside is mostly mined in Yakutia and Siberia. The opening of the economy of the former Soviet Union has made it more readily available than it used to be.
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Information Courtesy of AGTA