Diopside Facts and Buying Guide

by Sheweta Dhanuka

This lustrous gemstone rates only between 5.5-6 Mohs on the hardness scale. It is very delicate and thus demands extra care and precautions. It should be protected from harsh chemicals and acids present in cosmetics and cleaning agents.

Diopside, the name is derived from the Greek word 'diopsis' that means " two kind of vision or to have a double appearance'. It is named so because when viewed from one side it exhibits one colour while from another side it appears in different shade. This phenomenon is known as pleochroism.

It is a beautiful gemstone but still has been overlooked for many years. It is quite difficult to procure this stone and is found in very less quantities. To make it recognized more and more in the market it is priced less in spite of its rare occurrence, difficult mining process and very less production rate.

Diopside with Vesuvianite

It is an important rock forming mineral in metamorphic and igneous rock. The sources of this mineral are New York in United States, Outokumpu in Finland, Ural Mountains and Lake Baikal in Russia and Mt. Vesuvius in Italy. Other countries are Austria, Germany, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Mogok, Myanmar (Burma), Madagascar, Canada, Pakistan, Quebec, Sweden, Kimberly and South Africa.

It occurs in green, blue, white, purple, brown, colorless and gray. Few other shades are yellowish brown and greenish brown. Based on the colours this gemstone is categorized into different varieties. All the five different forms of Diopside are rare. The properties mentions below in the tabular format would be same for all the varieties of this mineral.

Ordinary Diopside

It can occur in any colour or shade mentioned above and would possess glassy luster. It is the most common mineral and found in many countries in the world.

Violan

It is light blue to purple in colour. This colour appears due to the presence of high amount of manganese in the chemical composition. It is procured mainly from Italy. It is sometimes used as beads.

Malacolite

It is fluorescent variety occurring in white colour or slightly tinted. Finest quality of this variety is found in Pawling, Dutchess Co., New York in United States of America.

Cat's Eye

This variety is green in colour. It produces linear luminescence when light falls on the crystal and the few inclusions present reflects back the light. High quality stones are obtained from DeKalb, St. Lawrence county and New York in United States of America. India also is the major producer.

Star Diopside

It is black or brown in colour hence also called as black star Diopside. It is named so because it contains needle like inclusions that reflects back the light and produce 4 rayed/arms star like appearance. It is found in abundant quantity in India. It is cut into thick cabochons shapes to make fascinating jewelry pieces. Also used for making small carved figures used for the decorative purpose.

Chrome Diopside

This variety is used as gemstone. It is referred as Diopside instead of Chrome Diopside among the people dealing in gemstones. Although at present it is not very popular but soon because of it's splendid colour and affordability, it would gain a specific position in the gemstone trade market. Thus, this article would be offering the valuable details and facts about this stone that waits for getting recognized. The given information would act as the buying guide for the buyers while making the purchase of a genuine gemstone.

Colour

It is bright green in colour that is very well saturated all over the crystal. The colour of the stone becomes dark with the increase in size and also after all the necessary gemstone processing is completed. As a result when it reaches the dealers for sale it gains dark green colour that looks amazing. Green colour appears due to presence of chromium in the chemical composition thus, it is named as Chrome Diopside.

Clarity

This bright stone contains vitreous luster and is transparent in nature. It can be eye clean or might contain few flaws. Being transparent the inclusions are clearly visible in the crystal by the naked eyes. The stones with no or minimum flaws should be selected. This gemstone sparkles due to very high refractive index, which is double of the precious stone emerald.

Cut

Although relatively soft, it is cut into different shapes and styles. However, in order to attain higher production rate and less wastage it should be cut into shapes with rounded corners like round, oval and sometimes pear. The shapes like square and marquise with sharp corners must be totally avoided as it results in high wastage.

Carat Weight

It is found in large sizes as rough but unfortunately for the end user it is available only in small sizes as gemstone. The reason being, only 10% of the rough is successfully converted into final processed gems. Sometimes the conversion rate from rough into gems even falls below 10%. As the stone is fragile and soft in nature, during the initial gemstone processing majority of the rough is wasted. The ideal stone size used for the making jewelry items is 8 x 6 mm or 10 x 8 mm with the carat weight between 2-5 ctw. Stones beyond 10 ctw are very rare and almost impossible to find from the mines.

Price

This gemstone is priced very moderately in spite of being scarce in nature. Infact, sometimes due to lower price it is looked upon as poor quality gem. Where else, in reality it is a very rich stone that is very friendly with the pocket of the common man. Price is determined on the basis of intensity of the colour, clarity and carat weight. Bright green colour stone without any flaws is most valuable.

Enhancements and Imitations

It is never enhanced by any method. However, synthetic stones are created using sand and lime. Glass and plastic is also used for making artificial green colored stones. Finest quality of original stone is obtained from the country Siberia so these man made stones are sold under the trade name Siberian Emerald or Russina Emerald. It is sometimes also confused with other semi precious gemstones viz. Peridot and Hiddenite. Buyers need to be careful of these imitations while making the purchases.

Occurrence

It is found in iron mines, limestone quarries and marble quarries in compact, granular, columnar or massive form. Metamorphic and igneous rocks are the main source of this gemstone. It is very difficult and risky to mine this gemstone thus the production is not very steady.
Source - Remote locations at Yakutia and Siberia produces very fine quality of this green colored gemstone. Mining in these countries is done in very cold temperature. Finest quality is obtained from Outokumpu in Finland, Mt. Vesuvius in Italy and the Ural Mountains of Russia. It is also procured from Madagascar, Canada, Kenya and North Korea.

Uses

One unique use is that it is used as diamond mine indicator mineral. Secondly, lovely jewelries are made using this gemstone. As it is produced in the stone size of smaller magnitude, earrings and pendants are the better choice than the rings. Also it being quite soft, rings made using this stone are not retained for a longer duration. Stud earrings made from this gem looks amazing.

Jewelries can be made of 14K or 18K yellow gold and sterling silver. It is also paired with other gemstones like sapphires, diamonds and Tsavorite. It can be set into prong or bezel or bead setting. Buyer should ensure that the setting is done well while buying this beautiful asset. One important thing to note is that jewelers have to be extra cautious while making the jewelry items as sometimes this stone might even melt under the jeweler's torch.

Precautions

This lustrous gemstone rates only between 5.5-6 Mohs on the hardness scale. It is very delicate and thus demands extra care and precautions. It should be protected from harsh chemicals and acids present in cosmetics and cleaning agents. Large temperature changes and excessive heat can cause the gem to melt. It is heat sensitive thus, while any sort of repair of the jewelry piece the gem should be removed first and then the repairing work must be done. Else it might deteriorate the luster of the stone.

Jewelry consisting this incomparable beautiful gemstone preferably should not be worn daily rather is more suitable for occasional wear. It should be cleaned with a mild wet cloth and must be wiped off completely. Even little moisture can ruin the stone. It should be stored in a separate jewelry box lined with a soft cloth/velvet/cotton.

Beliefs

It is believed to develop the intellect and analytical skills of the wearer. It also protects from all the evil and bad memories. It is even associated with healing of few chronic diseases.

This fabulous green gemstone came into existence, got little popularity and was again lost due to its scarcity in nature. This is the reason why it is considered as investors stone and is yet to achieve the jewelry grade or jewelry status. In spite of all the odds, this gemstone has an incredible charisma. Gemstone lovers after the first look would like to see it again and again. It is treasured and collected by those who have the ability to judge the real beauty. Hopefully you are one of them !!

 
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