Diopside

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Introduction
  • Diopside is a Calcium Magnesium Silicate found in metamorphosed impure limestone, meteorites and igneous basalts.
  • Diopside was named in 1800 from the Greek word "Dis" meaning double and "Opsis" meaning vision, in reference to the Pleochroism (i.e. different colours are displayed when viewed from different angles) found in its prismatic form.
  • Diopside has been previously named Schefferite, White Schefferite and Zinc-Schefferite.

  • Legends & Lore
  • Diopside is also called the "Crying Gemstone", because it is believed by crystal healers to heal trauma, by bringing forth cleansing tears.
  • Diopside is believed to bring creativity to the wearer and is said to be related to love and commitment. Physically, crystal healers believe Diopside can benefit the heart, lungs and circulation.

    Just The Facts
  • Diopside is the Magnesium rich member of the "Monoclinic-Pyroxene Series" that occurs when ions (and Magnesium) freely substitute each other.
  • Diopside crystals have a perfect cleavage in two directions, are often twinned and are short and columnar, but with an uneven fracture. Mineralogists easily recognize Diopside in the field by its crystals, its colour, its fracture, its cleavage and its white or white-green streak.
  • Diopside frequently appears as gemstones (faceted or cabochons) and gemstone beads.
  • Diopside is typically white, blue, purple, brown, green, colourless and gray with a glassy luster. The less common shades are yellowish brown and greenish brown.
  • Varieties of Diopside include "Russian Diopside" (a Chromium-rich Diopside known for its deep green colour), "Violan" (a rare blue variety found in Italy), "Cat's Eye Diopside" (green with the effect due to inclusions of Rutile needles), "Malacolite" (a white coloured variety), "Salaite" (an Iron variety), "Dekalbite" (an Iron free variety) and "Star Diopside" (a star with four rays).
  • Gem quality Diopsides are mined in Siberia (Russia), Italy, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Madagascar, South Africa and Pakistan. Uzbekistan, located between Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, is becoming an important locality for a variety of Russian Diopside called Tashmarine. This variety has a slightly lower Chromium content than the Siberian material, a less saturated colour and can display gray or brown tones. India has the largest deposits of phenomenal Diopsides such as Cat's Eye or Star Diopsides. The colour of African Diopside tends to be a more yellowish colour similar to Peridot.

    Russian Diopside
  • Russian Diopside has a beautiful rich green colour, similar to that of the best Emeralds or the rarest Tsavorite Garnets.
  • Coloured by Chromium, Russian Diopside is also known as Chrome Diopside. While there is little historical information regarding this rare gem type, some claim it is beneficial for health, relationships, spirituality and financial success.
  • One major reason Russian Diopside has been overlooked is that it has only recently become available in sizable commercial quantities. Interestingly, a company recently trademarked the name "Vertelite" for Russian Diopside. The name was created from "Verte" the Latin root word for green and "Lite" the Latin root word for tone.
  • Russian Diopside is mostly available in small sizes, large sizes are very rare.
  • Russian Diopside displays strong birefringence and has a vitreous luster.
  • Russian Diopside is mostly mined in Yakutia, Siberia. Yakutia territory is located in the extreme North of Asia and is considered the coldest place in the Northern hemisphere. Mining is limited due to cold winters lasting for nine months; hence this gem is very seasonal and it has been difficult to maintain a steady supply.
  • Interestingly, Yakutia is also the source of 99% of all Russian Diamonds. Russian Diopside, which is a Diamond mine indicator mineral, is sometimes found as an inclusion inside gem quality Diamonds.
  • The liberalization of the economy of the former Soviet Union has made Russian Diopside more available than even before. 

    Star Diopside
  • Star Diopside is also known as "Black Star Diopside" because of its black or brown colour. Asterism or the Star Effect is a reflection effect that appears as two or more intersecting bands of light across the surface of a gem.
  • Star Diopside has four rays, two of which are straight, while the other two are not at right angles to the first pair.
  • Star Diopside is generally a black or blackish green colour and cut into round or oval cabochons. Star Diopside is also used for carving small figures.
  • Star Diopside is mainly mined in India.
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