Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Chromian diopside [G8822]

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Chromian diopside (G8822) from the National Gem Collection

Photo by Chip Clark

Hover over color tiles above to learn what this object tells us about the history of the Earth

Catalog #MineralCountryWeight 
G8822Diopside (var. Chromian diopside)Russia More info »
G8822 (Chromian diopside) was obtained in an exchange with in 1981.

About this object

Chrome diopside is a rare gem and one of great beauty.  It is colored by chromium, the same element that gives emerald its rich green color. This beautiful intense green color and its high refraction give the gem great brilliance and life.  Diopside is found in many areas around the world and in different colors, however, gem quality chrome diopside is mined in the mountains of Siberia, Russia near diamond bearing kimberlite pipes.  In 1988, this “new” green gem from Russia started to be seen in the jewelry industry and is sometimes referred to as “Russian Emerald” in the trade. The resemblance of its color to tsavorite garnet, chrome tourmaline, and emerald made it a standout, and the more affordable price made it very popular.  In today’s marketplace, chrome diopside is one of the most affordable gemstones with this pure rich green color, which is completely natural. Chrome diopside is typically seen in small sizes (under 3 carats) because in larger sizes the color tends to become very dark, almost black.  The National Gem Collection has several chrome diopside gems from Russia, ranging in size from 2.83-3.05carats.  A wonderful exhibit of diopside mineral and gem specimens are on display at the National Museum of Natural History.

On Exhibit denotes specimens currently on exhibit

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