Color: Deep rich forest green
Gem Family: Imperial Diopside® is the highest quality of chrome diopside. Its rich green color is due to trace amounts of chromium, the same element that is responsible for the green of emerald and the red of ruby.
Source: This rare diopside is mined in the frozen lands of Northeastern Siberia. Mining is carried out almost entirely by hand. Picks and shovels are used to extract the rough gems from the earth.
Clarity: All Imperial Diopside® is free of eye-visible inclusions.
Size Range: .10 - 3.0 carats.
Shapes Available: Diopside is very difficult to cut properly. To bring out brilliance across the entire face of the gemstones, make sure the gem has sharp even facets. All Imperial Diopside® must be cut to the highest standards. The most popular shapes are trilliants, round brilliants, and Barion emerald cuts. Ovals, cushions, checkerboards, and princess cuts are also available.
Enhancement: Imperial Diopside® is not enhanced in any way.
Lore & History: Nature does much of the work mining Imperial Diopside®. The forbidding Siberian mountains where this rich green gem is found are covered by deep snow from October to June. The winters are so harsh that the ice cracks and shapes the ground and rocks. When the snows finally melt in the summer, the green of diopside crystals can be found on the surface of the ground like a blanket of rich green moss. The sparkling crystals are washed down in the rains and sparkle on the mountainsides and riverbeds like green frosty dew.
Toughness & Hardness: The hardness of Imperial Diopside® is 5.5 on the Mohs scale.
Care & Cleaning: Diopside is a little harder than opal, similar in harness to tanzanite, so it needs to be treated with a little extra care. Try to avoid direct impact to the gemstone. Clean with warm water, detergent, and a soft brush. Imperial Diopside can be put in ultrasonic or steam cleaners.
Price Range: $75 to $250 per carat. Exceptionally fine gems can command even higher per carat prices.
Special Characteristics: Imperial Diopside® is found in the very same kimberlite geological formation that produces Russia's coveted diamonds, near the town of Aldan in the Yakut region of Siberia.