Chrome Diopside is a green mineral gemstone made of silicate and manganese. It comes in shades of dull olive tones to bright grass green, with heavy, compact veining that is similar to lower grade emeralds. Ranging from nearly lusterless lime greens to full hunter green shades, Chrome Diopside is a good substitute for emerald and the greener hues of peridot. Diopside is formed with igneous and metamorphic rock under heat and pressure. The crystal-like growth has good cleavage and allows uniform angles for cutting into gemstone shapes. Despite its somewhat dull appearance, this mineral has prismatic cleavage which allows it almost twice the refraction qualities as an emerald.
The green of Chrome Diopside comes from iron-bonded chromium, saturating the stone with deep color often associated with the sleepy green luster of emeralds. Diopside may also be found in blue, brown, gray, white, and colorless. Some white streaking may be present and the green can vary from vitreous to dull. Although brittle, this is a relatively soft stone of 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs Scale of hardness and can be scratched. Because of this softness, Chrome Diopside is often cut into bevel-friendly shapes like ovals, rounds or cushion with carefully faceted edges. Almost 90 percent of the gemstone rough’s size is lost to cutting, making this green beauty truly a challenge to skilled jewelry cutters.
Chrome Diopside can be rated up to a coveted AA for eye-clean stones, and is prized for penetrating deep color and good cleavage. This natural coloring and exceptional symmetry needs no heat treating for colors likely in spring and summer jewelry. It can be equally attractive when paired with warm colors or offset by whites, blacks, and clear stones or deep amber tones. While Chrome Diopside has not found its place among birthstone jewelry, it has gained fame as a substitute for tsavorite garnet and chrome tourmaline.