Dioptase or “Green Gold" as it is often called is second only to the Emerald in producing the finest shades, depth and clarity of natural green minerals ever found. Dioptase will always hold a preferred place in any quality mineral collection. It is difficult to photograph Dioptase crystals and produce the correct green shade and clarity that is visible when seen in person. Dioptase is an intense emerald-green to bluish-green hydrous copper silicate mineral (copper cyclosilicate). Its appearance is transparent to translucent. Dioptase green coloring comes from the presence of copper. Dioptase is too soft to facet for gemstones, making it a collectors only specimen.
The finest specimens of all were found at the Tsumeb Mine in Tsumeb Namibia. Other popular locations include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kaokaveld Namibia, and Renéville, Congo-Brazzaville. Dioptase specimens on a brownish quartzite matrix are currently flooding the market from the old Altyn Tyube Mine (Dioptase first found here late in the 18th century), Kazakhstan. Some mostly played out locations include the deserts of southwestern America such the old Mammoth-Saint Anthony Mine near Mammoth, Arizona and the Christmas Mine near Hayden, Arizona. Another interesting occurrence is the Malpaso Quarry in and near Agua de Oro Argentina. Here tiny bluish- green Dioptase is found on and in quartz.
Namibia possesses Africa's most sophisticated mineral miners. The amount of care given to; collect specimens without damage, to preserve the specimens and to understand the value makes Namibia mined specimens the most desirable and valuable. Most of the rough gem mining communities across Africa do not understand the need for such care. Namibia continues to introduce beautiful specimens to the mineral world, and has been a favorite location for specimen collectors to visit and hunt for specimens since 1905.
Dioptase was mined from the Tsumeb Mine in the town of Tsumeb in Oshikoto region, northern Namibia until 1996 when the mine was closed and flooded. It remained that way until a few years ago when the mine was reopened and named the Ongopolo Mine. The upper levels were de watered and excavation is occurring there but the lower sections will probably remain flooded and abandoned.
Item # DIOP05160003
Old Stock Namibia Dioptase on Matrix
Here's an excellent display specimen of Dioptase on Matrix from our Personal Collection. This piece has an attractive group of sharp green dioptase crystals on grey-white quartz matrix. This is an old stock specimen from Namibia we obtained from a mineral dealer in Quartzsite, AZ in the 1970's. This specimen was originally glued to styrofoam (which was common at that time) that has been removed. The flat bottom styrofoam was left on the bottom of the matrix to prevent damage to the specimen. The flat foam base allows a nice freestanding display.
This piece weighs 1.2 oz (32g) and measures 1.65 x 1.18 x 1.21 inches (42 x 30 x 30.9mm)
Item # DIOP05160004
Dioptase on Matrix from Tsumeb Mine in Namibia
Here's a favorite display specimen of Dioptase on Matrix from our Personal Collection. This piece has an attractive, large, Emerald Green Dioptase Crystal on grey-smoky quartz matrix. There are vugs with Chrysocolla and Dioptase and locations with Dioptase crystals directly on the quartz. This specimen is from the Tsumeb Mine in the town of Tsumeb in Oshikoto region, northern Namibia, Africa we obtained in 1994 from a mineral dealer and good friend in South Africa. This specimen has multiple Dioptase Crystals , one being very large and at one end of the specimen. There may be more inside the matrix...we always wondered but opted not to open the matrix further, thus preventing any possible damage to the large crystal.
This piece weighs 10.6 oz 0.66 lb (302g) and measures 4.6 x 2.27 x 1.89 inches (11.7 x 5.7 x 4.8cm)