Chrome Diopside has always been one of my favorite gemstones. At first sight, I liked the crisp green colors and the sparkle the stone gave off. Once I started reading about it, I wondered why this stone didn’t have a higher demand. I felt it was my duty to run through the streets grabbing people by the shoulders screaming, “3 months out of the year!” and “10% yield!” But those are acts of a crazed man. Instead, I decided to do the “Tom Joyce Wonders Why You’re Not Buying These” list.
1) Mining Region - Chrome Diopside is mined in the Sakha region of Siberia. Due to harsh weather conditions, it can only be mined 3 months out of the year. Sakha is the only place where this material exists. Unfortunately, there is not a more temperate climate where Chrome Diopside can be found. Sounds like a certain blue stone everyone loves…
2) Rough vs. Yield - 90% of Chrome Diopside is lost in the cutting process. 90%!! Chrome Diopside is a prismatic stone with 2 planes of cleavage. This causes the breaks of the stone to be fractured and splintery. It takes a very experienced lapidary to cut these stones. Traditional cuts with rounded corners are most common. A stone like BKS901 has a cut that is not often seen in Chrome Diopside and might not be seen again.
3) Treatments - This stone is NOT treated. No heat, no oil, no coatings. Chrome Diopside is a natural beauty that requires no treatment to get its rich green color. This is not a common thing to say in gemstones, especially green ones.
4) Availability - Chrome Diopside has only been available in the United States since 1988. This is a very young gemstone in the eyes of trade. Tanzanite, also a young stone, has been available on the market since the 1970’s, and we all know how the pricing on it has increased. Every day of the past 13 years, I regret not buying a tanzanite when I first started working at JTV. Don’t let Chrome be your regret!
5) Cost - Chrome Diopside is very moderately priced compared to other green gems. Extra fine quality Emerald can go for $10,000/ct and up. A naturally colored Chrome Diopside, which has a higher refractive index than an Emerald, is $80 - $100/ct. Chrome Diopside is an untreated, beautiful, and less expensive alternative to a much higher priced legend stone.
This list was a much better idea than screaming facts to random people. I have never felt more passionate about any gemstone in our inventory. Chrome Diopside is officially on my ‘do not pass up list’.