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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Chrome Diopside

Chrome diopside resembles the color of  tsavorite garnet, chrome tourmaline, and emerald. It is typically seen in small sizes (under 3 carats) because in larger sizes the color tends to become very dark, almost black.
Photo by Greg Polley. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G8822-00
Locality Yakutia, Russia
Weight 2.83 ct

Obtained in an exchange in 1981.

Chrome diopside 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 popular. 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 2.83-3.05 carats.


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