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I had been putting off the Gemstone of the Week posts because recently there have been so many other things to post about and I didn’t want to inundate you all.  Well, now I have a ton of gems to catch up on, and so to start chipping away at it, here’s chrome diopside!

Rough chrome diopside.  Photo by Devin McRorie at www.PrettyRock.com

While its name sounds like a paint ingredient instead of a gemstone, chrome diopside is a very pretty vibrant green crystal, and the most reasonably-priced of the green gems. It has no known enhancements, and so what you see in a jewelry shop is the natural beauty it had when it left the cold Siberian earth.

Chrome diopside is a Calcium Magnesium Silicate (CaMg(Si2O6)) and owes its green coloration to traces of Chromium. Once isolated in Siberia where it has been mined since 1988, it is now a sought-after Russian export. As chrome diopside is fairly soft at 5.5 Mohs, and as the stone tends to darken with larger carat size, most chrome diopside is sold as small stones for earrings and pendants.

Chrome diopside is believed to enhance creativity and give the wearer the strength and intellect needed to reach one’s goals. When worn near the heart, it is thought to enhance circulation.