General Information About Diopside
In the 1800’s, Brazilian Jose Bonifacio de Andrada e Silva discovered diopside. However, it was not actually mined for commercial purposes until the 1980’s when Russia began exporting it after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Since that time, it has been found in several sites throughout the world. This made it more readily available although still fairly rare.
It is believed, however, that it was actually discovered prior to that time. It may have been called by a different name. That theory developed based on a couple of legends that have been passed down through history for centuries.
In the first legend people believed that diopside had actually fallen from the Tree of Life during the beginning of man. As a result, loved ones that had passed on were buried with the stone in order to ensure they had the opportunity to experience a new cycle of life.
In the second legend, some cultures would place the stone on the forehead before falling asleep in order to ensure they only had sweet dreams. The practice was driven by the belief that diopside was associated with tranquility and peace.
Physical Properties of Diopside
- Chemical Classification: Silicate.
- Color: Grayish white, light blue, purple, light green to vivid green, brown, black.
- Luster: Vitreous, sugary and earthy to dull.
- Transparency: Opaque, translucent or transparent.
- Cleavage: 2 distinct directions at 87 and 93 degrees, imperfect and prismatic.
- Hardness: 5.5-6.5 out of 10 on the Mohs hardness scale.
- Gravity: 3.2-3.5.
- Diagnostic Properties: Cleavage and monoclinic crystal form.
- Crystal System: Monoclinic.
- Varieties: Bailkalite (dark color), Black Star (resembles the Black Star Sapphire), Cat’s Eye, Fedorovite, Lavrovite (apple green color), Malacolite (light colored, translucent stones), Schefferite, Traverselite, Violane (Purple to pale blue but only found in Italy and very rare), Chromo or Chromomeric (Green color which is the most common – the lighter the green the less chrome present).
- Often Confused With: Acantoide, Alalite, Coccolithe, Cocolithe, Dekalbite, Emeralds, Fassaite, India Black Star Sapphire, Kokkolith, Leucaugite, Maclurite, Malacolite, Mussite, Protheite, Pyrgome, Pyroxen, Granuliform Pyroxen, Sahlite.
Diopside is a primary mineral in olivine-rich basalts and andesites. It also forms during metamorphism of limestone and dolomite. These carbonite deposits are where the cut-faceted gems and ornamental stones are found. It comes in both massive and crystalline forms with crystals reaching up to 50cm. Still, it;s visually hard to identify which is why it can often be confused with many other semiprecious stones. Due to the way the vertical prisms of the crystals are oriented, its name comes from the Greek “Di” meaning “two” and “Opsis” meaning “face” or “appearing double”.
Metaphysical Details About Diopside
Diopside is associated with the Chakra of the heart. Due to its origin, it earned a reputation as a stone that would enhance visualization. It was thought to increase awareness and creative vision. It is also believed to improve mathematical, analytical, statistical ability and intellect. Diopside also enhances self-belief, confidence and self-esteem while boosting phosphorus, protein, silica and vitamin K in the body.
Chrome diopside is the most coveted of the varieties when it comes to metaphysical properties because it works not only on emotional issues but physical ones as well. It is believed to reduce stubbornness, alleviate aggression, enhance love and commitment. Diopside also aids in the healing of chronic diseases and disorders associated with the heart, lungs and circulatory system, skin diseases, kidney related illnesses and Leukemia.
The power of diopside lies in the fact it works on the unconditional love circuit. This makes it extremely adaptable when it comes to the need for physical, emotional or spiritual healing. By clearing emotional blockages, you can focus on the things that are truly important in your life resulting in positive, long-term changes.
By removing inner conflicts and unwanted distractions you’ll find your mind opens and becomes more receptive of new ideas, concepts and techniques while kicking your body’s healing system into high gear.
How It’s Used
In ancient times, cultures from around the world believed that gemstones held powers that promoted a wide array of health benefits. Although they are now primarily worn for ornamental purposes, many people still believe that when work over certain parts of the body called “Chakras,” which are energy fields.
They would be restored promoting peace, love and safety while improving the body, mind and spirit. When it comes to diopside, which is a heart Chakra, it should be worn anywhere near the heart in order to optimize healing powers.
Recently, manufacturing has taken an interest in the stone after finding that it can be used in the ceramics industry with the help of newer technology. In the UK, scientists found that in the slag of blast furnaces as well as among other waste products, a diopside based glass-ceramic called “silceram” was produced.
Although still in the experimental stages, it is believed that the diopside based ceramics and glass-ceramics can eventually be used in the field of biomaterials, to seal materials in solid oxide fuel cells and to immobilize nuclear waste.
Where Can We Find Diopside Today?
Chrome diopside is are often found in dispersed grains near kimberlite pipes that occur where diamonds are present. These deposits have been found in Canada, South Africa, Russia, Brazil, the U.S. and many other locations. It’s one of the reasons why the search for diopside became so important throughout the world.
During the search, however, other varieties were found that have proved valuable on their own. One such example is the violane variety that can only be found in Italy.
As consumers become more aware of diopside, the gem is gradually making its way into the mainstream jewelry market. In addition to its attractive color and affordable price, the stories, legends and metaphysical properties are compelling selling points.