Dioptase is a hydrous copper silicate and is colored an intense, vibrant emerald/bluish/turquoise green. It is often found in combination with other copper-based crystals such as Chrysocolla and Shattuckite.

Dioptase is an intense emerald-green to bluish-green copper cyclosilicate mineral. It is transparent to translucent. Its luster is vitreous to sub-adamantine. It has a hardness of 5, the same as tooth enamel. It is popular with mineral collectors and is sometimes cut into small gems. It can also be ground up and used as a pigment for painting.

Dioptase Uses

Dioptase is popular with mineral collectors and it is occasionally cut into small emerald-like gems. Dioptase and chrysocolla are the only relatively common copper silicate minerals. A dioptase gemstone should never be exposed to ultrasonic cleaning or the fragile gem will shatter. As a ground pigment, dioptase can be used in painting.

The most famous (and expensive) dioptase mineral locality is at Tsumeb, Namibia.

Dioptase Metaphysical Properties

The frequency of Dioptase is connected to the heart chakra. It strengthens the emotions via the heart center bringing forth the energy of compassion for oneself and others.

The higher vibrational frequency of this crystal activates the “higher heart” allowing one to be guided by a heart-centered consciousness which can bring joy, peace, and emotional balance to one’s being.

This stunning gemstone helps one to recognize and release deep emotional patterns and beliefs held at the cellular level.

Dioptase allows one to be “open” to oneself and others so that one can honor both oneself and others for whom they truly are. Thus the energy of Dioptase brings compassion and forgiveness to one’s being, so that one can move forward and also allow others to move forward, without any emotional burdens or attachments.

The energy of this beautiful crystal can help heal physical issues that have manifested due to emotional traumas.

Associated Chakras

  • Heart

Emotional Issue

  • Forgiveness

Spiritual Connection

  • Compassion
  • Emotional Belief Patterns – Release
  • Emotional Healing

Dioptase History

Dioptase was used to highlight the edges of the eyes on the three Pre-Pottery Neolithic B lime plaster statues discovered at ‘Ain Ghazal known as Micah, Heifa and Noah. These sculptures date back to about 7200 BC.

Late in the 18th century, copper miners at the Altyn-Tyube (Altyn-Tube) mine, Karagandy Province, Kazakhstan thought they found the emerald deposit of their dreams. They found fantastic cavities in quartz veins in a limestone, filled with thousands of lustrous emerald-green transparent crystals. The crystals were dispatched to Moscow, Russia for analysis.

However the mineral’s inferior hardness of 5 compared with emerald’s greater hardness of 8 easily distinguished it. Later Fr. René Just Haüy (the famed French mineralogist) in 1797 determined that the enigmatic Altyn-Tyube mineral was new to science and named it dioptase (Greek, dia, “through” and optos, “visible”), alluding to the mineral’s two cleavage directions that are visible inside unbroken crystals.

Dioptase Occurrence

Dioptase is an uncommon mineral found mostly in desert regions where it forms as a secondary mineral in the oxidized zone of copper sulfide mineral deposits. However, the process of its formation is not simple, the oxidation of copper sulfides should be insufficient to crystallize dioptase as silica is normally minutely soluble in water except at highly alkaline pH.

The oxidation of sulfides will generate highly acidic fluids rich in sulfuric acid that should suppress silica solubility. However, in dry climates and with enough time, especially in areas of a mineral deposit where acids are buffered by carbonate, minute quantities of silica may react with dissolved copper forming dioptase and chrysocolla.

The Altyn Tube mine in Kazakhstan still provides handsome specimens; a brownish quartzite host distinguishes its specimens from other localities. The finest specimens of all were found at the Tsumeb Mine in Tsumeb, Namibia. Tsumeb dioptase is transparent and often highly sought after by collectors.

Dioptase is also found in the deserts of the southwestern US. A notable occurrence is the old Mammoth-Saint Anthony Mine near Mammoth, Arizona where small crystals that make fine micromount specimens are found. In addition, many small, pale-green colored crystals of dioptase have come from the Christmas Mine near Hayden, Arizona. Another classic locality for fine specimens is Renéville, Congo-Brazzaville.

Finally, an interesting occurrence is the Malpaso Quarry in and near Agua de Oro Argentina. Here tiny bluish-green dioptase is found on and in quartz. It appears at this occurrence, dioptase is primary and has crystallized with quartz, native copper, and malachite.

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