A gem with the rich, saturated color of the diopside pictured on the opposite page might be expected to be a birthstone (or at least an alternate birthstone), yet most gemstone information pages don't even mention diopside. Nonetheless, it's a pretty gem material that, despite its odd name, can be a great addition to your "green gems" list. One major reason diopside has been overlooked is that it has only recently become available in sizable commercial quantities, but now that it is available, maybe it's time to change its name. A gem by any other name. Diopside is part of the pyroxene group (straight-single chain silicates), as are jadeite, spodumene, enstatite, and another dozen or so minerals with unappealing names, such as hedenbergite and kosmochlor, which are not significant for the gem industry. However, the move toward trademarking consumer-friendly labels just might make d

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