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About DiopsideHide

light to dark green, blue, brown, colourless, snow white, grey, pale violet
Vitreous, Dull
5½ - 6½
Specific Gravity:
3.22 - 3.38
Crystal System:
Named in 1806 by Rene Just Haüy From the Greek διζ- for "double" and οψτζ- "appearance," in allusion to two possible orientations of the prism zone.
Pyroxene Group - Clinopyroxene Subgroup; see also the Diopside-Hedenbergite Series, and the Diopside-Johannsenite Series.

One of the most common members of the pyroxene group. Often occurs in metamorphosed limestones (marbles) as generally pale greenish to greyish green crystals, masses and blebs/grains associated with humite-group minerals, spinel, phlogopite, tremolite and grossular. Can also be pure white and not distinguishable from the enclosing carbonate. Often fluorescent bright powder blue.

May incorporate OH groups (e.g., Yang et al., 2015).

Compare UM2003-36-SiO:CaNa.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Diopside.

Classification of DiopsideHide


Diopside and its relation to other pyroxenes (after Morimoto et al., 1989)


Previous petrological nomenclature of clinopyroxenes from basaltic magmas (after Poldervaart & Hess, 1951)

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)

9 : SILICATES (Germanates)
D : Inosilicates
A : Inosilicates with 2-periodic single chains, Si2O6; pyroxene family

65 : INOSILICATES Single-Width,Unbranched Chains,(W=1)
1 : Single-Width Unbranched Chains, W=1 with chains P=2

14 : Silicates not Containing Aluminum
6 : Silicates of Ca with alkali or Mg or both

Physical Properties of DiopsideHide

Vitreous, Dull
Transparent, Opaque
light to dark green, blue, brown, colourless, snow white, grey, pale violet
Variable colours are caused by trace to minor contents of Fe (common), Mn, Ti, V, Cr.
5½ - 6½ on Mohs scale
on {110}
on {100} and probably {010}
Irregular/Uneven, Conchoidal
3.22 - 3.38 g/cm3 (Measured)    3.278 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of DiopsideHide

Biaxial (+)
RI values:
nα = 1.663 - 1.699 nβ = 1.671 - 1.705 nγ = 1.693 - 1.728
Measured: 58° to 63°, Calculated: 56° to 64°
Max Birefringence:
δ = 0.030
Image shows birefringence interference colour range (at 30µm thickness)
and does not take into account mineral colouration.
Surface Relief:
weak to distinct r > v

Chemical Properties of DiopsideHide

Common Impurities:

Crystallography of DiopsideHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
2/m - Prismatic
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 9.746 Å, b = 8.899 Å, c = 5.251 Å
β = 105.79°
a:b:c = 1.095 : 1 : 0.59
Unit Cell V:
438.23 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Prismatic crystals with square cross sections.
Simple or multiple twins on {100} or {010} common.

Crystallographic forms of DiopsideHide

Crystal Atlas:
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Diopside no.135 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

Edge Lines | Miller Indices | Axes

Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation

X-Ray Powder DiffractionHide

Image Loading

Radiation - Copper Kα
Data Set:
Data courtesy of RRUFF project at University of Arizona, used with permission.

Synonyms of DiopsideHide

Other Language Names for DiopsideHide

Varieties of DiopsideHide

BaikaliteA morphological variety of ferroan diopside, approaching 'salite'.
Originally described in the 19th century from the Slyudyanka phlogopite mines area, Lake Baikal, Irkutskaya Oblast', Transbaikalia (Zabaykalye), Eastern-Siberian Region, Russia.
Blue DiopsideUsually granular diopside forming monomineral zones in magnesium skarns in some regions of Prebaikalie. Nature of blue colouration is uneven.
CanaaniteA white variety of diopside.
Chromian DiopsideA green, Cr-bearing variety of diopside.
DiallageA variety (diopside-hedenbergite-augite solid-solution member of the pyroxene group) specifically showing prominent {001} parting and originally supposed to be a distinct species. Occasional misidentifications included orthopyroxene, e.g Metalloidal Diall...
LavroviteA green vanadium-bearing variety of diopside.
Maclurite (of Nuttall and Torrey)Seybert (1822):"bears a strong resemblance to hypersthene"
"The color of this mineral in the mass, is dark brown, approaching to brownish black; when pulverized is grey; luster metallic. Slightly translucent of the edges. Form [of crystals] indeterminate....
SaliteAn obsolete name for a pyroxene that would now be classified as an Fe-bearing variety of diopside.
SchefferiteA brown manganoan variety of Diopside that frequently shows pronounced parting (IMA Subcommittee on Pyroxenes 1988).
Ti SaliteA probably unnecessary name for a titanian ferroan diopside.
Titanian Diopside
TraverselliteOccasionally alters to amphibole, and pseudomorphs amphibole.
Originally reported from Traversella Mine, Traversella, Chiusella Valley, Canavese District, Torino Province, Piedmont, Italy.
ViolanPurple to blue purple diopside or omphacite colored by manganese. Mauve colored diopside, owing its color to titanium, is not violan. Because of the bright purple color, violan is probably manganian and not manganoan. cf. Johannsennite.
Zinc-SchefferiteA brown zincian and manganoan diopside.

Relationship of Diopside to other SpeciesHide

Other Members of this group:
AegirineNaFe3+Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
Aegirine-augite(NaaCabFe2+cMgd)(Fe3+eAlfFe2+gMgh)Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
Augite(CaxMgyFez)(Mgy1Fez1)Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
BurnettiteCaVAlSiO6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
ClinoenstatiteMgSiO3Mon. 2/m : P21/b
ClinoferrosiliteFe2+SiO3Mon. 2/m : P21/b
DavisiteCaScAlSiO6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
EsseneiteCaFe3+[AlSiO6]Mon. 2/m : B2/b
GrossmaniteCaTi3+ AlSiO6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
HedenbergiteCaFe2+Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
JervisiteNaSc3+Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
JohannseniteCaMn2+Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
KanoiteMn2+(Mg,Mn2+)Si2O6Mon. 2/m : P21/b
KushiroiteCaAl[AlSiO6]Mon. 2/m : B2/b
Omphacite(NaaCabFe2+cMgd)(AleFe3+fFe2+gMgh)Si2O6Mon. 2/m
Pigeonite(CaxMgyFez)(Mgy1Fez1)Si2O6Mon. 2/m : P21/b
Tissintite(Ca,Na,□)AlSi2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
UM2001-19-SiO:AlCaMgNa(Na,Mg,Ca)(Mg,Al)Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
UM2003-36-SiO:CaNaNaCrSi2O6 - CaMgSi2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
Forms a series with:

Common AssociatesHide

Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
579 photos of Diopside associated with GrossularCa3Al2(SiO4)3
279 photos of Diopside associated with CalciteCaCO3
182 photos of Diopside associated with HessoniteCa3Al2(SiO4)3
179 photos of Diopside associated with VesuvianiteCa19Fe3+Al4(Al6Mg2)(☐4)☐[Si2O7]4[(SiO4)10]O(OH)9
158 photos of Diopside associated with ClinochloreMg5Al(AlSi3O10)(OH)8
144 photos of Diopside associated with Epidote{Ca2}{Al2Fe3+}(Si2O7)(SiO4)O(OH)
81 photos of Diopside associated with TitaniteCaTi(SiO4)O
76 photos of Diopside associated with AndraditeCa3Fe3+2(SiO4)3
71 photos of Diopside associated with QuartzSiO2
66 photos of Diopside associated with AlbiteNa(AlSi3O8)

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

9.DA.ProtoenstatiteMg2Si2O6Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbcn
9.DA.05EnstatiteMg2Si2O6Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbca
9.DA.05FerrosiliteFeSiO3Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbca
9.DA.10ClinoenstatiteMgSiO3Mon. 2/m : P21/b
9.DA.10ClinoferrosiliteFe2+SiO3Mon. 2/m : P21/b
9.DA.10KanoiteMn2+(Mg,Mn2+)Si2O6Mon. 2/m : P21/b
9.DA.10Pigeonite(CaxMgyFez)(Mgy1Fez1)Si2O6Mon. 2/m : P21/b
9.DA.15Augite(CaxMgyFez)(Mgy1Fez1)Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
9.DA.15EsseneiteCaFe3+[AlSiO6]Mon. 2/m : B2/b
9.DA.15HedenbergiteCaFe2+Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
9.DA.15JohannseniteCaMn2+Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
9.DA.15DavisiteCaScAlSiO6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
9.DA.15KushiroiteCaAl[AlSiO6]Mon. 2/m : B2/b
9.DA.15GrossmaniteCaTi3+ AlSiO6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
9.DA.20Aegirine-augite(NaaCabFe2+cMgd)(Fe3+eAlfFe2+gMgh)Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
9.DA.20Omphacite(NaaCabFe2+cMgd)(AleFe3+fFe2+gMgh)Si2O6Mon. 2/m
9.DA.25AegirineNaFe3+Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
9.DA.25JervisiteNaSc3+Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)Hide

65.1.3a.2HedenbergiteCaFe2+Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
65.1.3a.3Augite(CaxMgyFez)(Mgy1Fez1)Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
65.1.3a.4JohannseniteCaMn2+Si2O6Mon. 2/m : B2/b
65.1.3a.6EsseneiteCaFe3+[AlSiO6]Mon. 2/m : B2/b

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

14.6.1CombeiteNa4.5Ca3.5Si6O17.5(OH)0.5Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
14.6.2PectoliteNaCa2Si3O8(OH)Tric. 1 : P1
14.6.6MountainiteKNa2Ca2[Si8O19(OH)] · 6H2OMon. 2/m : P2/b
14.6.7RhodesiteKHCa2Si8O19 · 5H2OOrth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m)
14.6.8MiseriteK1.5-x(Ca,Y,REE)5(Si6O15)(Si2O7)(OH,F)2 · yH2OTric.
14.6.9ÅkermaniteCa2Mg(Si2O7)Tet. 4 2m : P4 21m
14.6.11MerwiniteCa3Mg(SiO4)2Mon. 2/m : P21/b
14.6.13Tremolite☐{Ca2}{Mg5}(Si8O22)(OH)2Mon. 2/m : B2/m

Fluorescence of DiopsideHide

Bright blue-white (white coloured material)(SW UV)

Other InformationHide

Health Risks:
No information on health risks for this material has been entered into the database. You should always treat mineral specimens with care.

Diopside in petrologyHide

References for DiopsideHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Liebisch, T. (1891) Physikalisch Krystallographie, Tafel VI, figs. 4, 5, and 6.
Schairer, J.F. and Bowen, N.L. (1942) The binary system CaSiO3-diopside, and the relations between CaSiO3 and akermanite. American Journal of Science: 240 (10): 725-742.
Osborn, E.F. (1942) The system CaSiO3-diopside-anorthite. American Journal of Science, 240: 11: 751-788.
Smith, J.V. (1966) X-ray emission microanalysis of rock-forming minerals. VI: Clinopyroxenes near the diopside-hedenbergite join. Journal of Geology: 74: 463-467.
Clark, J.R., Appleman, D.E., and Papike, J.J. (1969) Crystal-chemical characterization of clinopyroxenes based on eight new structure refinements. MSA Special Paper: 2: 31-50.
Ghose, S. and Schindler, P. (1969) Determination of the distribution of trace amounts on Mn+2 in diopsides by electron paramagnetic resonance. In: Pyroxenes and Amphiboles: Crystal chemistry and phase petrology. Mineralogical Society of America Special Paper 2: 51-58.
Kushiro, I. (1969) The system forsterite-diopside-silica with and without water at high pressures. American Journal of Science: 267: 269-294.
Cameron, M., Shigeho, S., Prewitt, C.T., and Papike, J.J. (1973) High-temperature crystal chemistry of acmite, diopside, hedenbergite, jadeite, spodumene and ureyite. American Mineralogist: 58: 594-618.
Mottana, A., Rossi, G., Kracher, A., and Kurat, G. (1979) Violan revisited: Mn-bearing omphacite and diopside. Tschermaks mineralogische und petrographische Mitteilungen: 26: 187-201.
Levien, L. and Prewitt, C.T. (1981) High-pressure structural study of diopside. American Mineralogist: 66: 315-323.
Rossi, G., Smith, D.C., Ungaretti, L., and Domeneghetti, M.C. (1983) Crystal-chemistry and cation ordering in the system diopside-jadeite: a detailed study by crystal structure refinement. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology: 83: 247-258.
Richet, P. and Bottinga, Y. (1984) Anorthite, andesine, wollastonite, diopside, cordierite, and pyrope thermodynamics of melting, glass transitions, and properties of the amorphous phases. Earth and Planetary Science Letters: 67: 415-432.
Johnson, K.T.M., Dick, H.J.B., and Shimizu, N. (1990) Melting in the oceanic upper mantle: an ion microprobe study of diopsides in abyssal peridotites. Journal of Geophysical Research: 95: 2661-2678.
Raterron, P. and Jaoul, O. (1991) High-temperature deformation of diopside single crystal, 1., Mechanical data. Journal of Geophysical Research, B, Solid Earth and Planets: 96: 14277-14286.
Knoche, R., Dingwell, D.B., and Webb, S.L. (1992) Non-linear temperature dependence of liquid volumes in the system albite-anorthite-diopside. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology: 111: 61-73.
Knoche, R., Dingwell, D.B., and Webb, S.L. (1992) Temperature-dependent thermal expansivities of silicate melts: The system anorthite-diopside. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 56: 689-699.
Harlow, G.E. (1996) Structure refinement of a natural K-rich diopside: the effect of K on the average structure. American Mineralogist: 81: 632-638.
Courtial, P., Téqui, C., and Richet, P. (2000) Thermodynamics of diopside, anorthite, pseudowollastonite, CaMgGeO4 olivine, and åkermanite up to near the melting point. Physics and Chemistry of Minerals: 27: 242-250.
Yang, Y., Xia, Q., and Zhang, P. (2015) Evolution of OH groups in diopside and feldspars with temperature. European Journal of Mineralogy: 27(2): 185-192.

Internet Links for DiopsideHide

Localities for DiopsideHide

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