Dioptase Gemstone: Properties, Meanings, Value & More

dioptase gemstoneDioptase is an eye-catching, emerald to bluish-green gemstone stealing the attention of anyone lucky enough to lay eyes on it. 

Is dioptase rare or common? Not only is it strikingly beautiful, but it’s also one of the rarest minerals on the market, with only a few known localities worldwide.

The stone isn’t known for industrial uses but is quite popular among avid crystal collectors, eclectic jewelry lovers, and crystal healers.

Speaking of healing, what is dioptase used for? The stone is thought to deliver soothing waves of life force energy helping “reset” one's physical, emotional, and spiritual body.

Curious to learn more about this rare and impressive mineral? 

Join along as we deep-dive into dioptase’s history, properties, meanings, prices, and more in our Dioptase Gemstone Guide! 

dioptase gemstone

About Dioptase Stone

Dioptase pronunciation is pretty much exactly how it looks: dye-awp-tays

The name derives from Greek dio and optos, meaning “through” and “visible.” This alludes to dioptase’s cleavage directions, which can be determined by merely looking into the crystals.

Dioptase is often confused with emerald. Some common nicknames for the mineral include: 

  • Emerald copper

  • Emerald malachite

  • Poor Man’s Emerald

But is dioptase an emerald? No. Although they’re quite similar with regard to color, fracture, and luster, the two minerals are different. Some notable differences are their streak, cleavage, and hardness.

While dioptase isn’t a traditional zodiac stone, it’s said that the semi-precious gem has a special connection to Taurus the Bull. 

So how does one identify dioptase? Familiarizing yourself with its mineral traits helps you distinguish dioptase from other gems.

dioptase gemstone raw crystal specimen

Dioptase Specifications & Characteristics

What type of gem is dioptase? This mineral is an extremely rare copper cyclosilicate that crystallizes in small prismatic shards and inclusions within quartz. It forms from oxidized copper veins and commonly occurs around other copper-bearing minerals, like chrysocolla, malachite, or shattuckite.

Dioptase falls at 5 on the Mohs mineral hardness scale (the same as tooth enamel). That and its perfect cleavage makes it exceptionally fragile.

The mineral also exhibits some fascinating optical properties. As light enters dioptase gems, it splits into two components refracting in two semi-different directions and speeds. This difference, which you can measure with a refractometer, is known as birefringence

When the birefringence is high (like it is in dioptase), a trained eye can observe it through the table facet (large, horizontal facet on top that acts as a window into the gem’s interior) with a loupe (or hand lens).

Interestingly, dioptase is also known to be pyroelectric. In other words, when you heat the mineral to a certain degree, it becomes electrically polarized, generating a temporary voltage.

Here’s an overview of dioptase’s mineral data:

  • Chemical formula: CuSiO3 · H2O

  • Composition: Copper, silicon, hydrogen, oxygen

  • Color: Emerald green to bluish-green

  • Crystal structure: Trigonal

  • Habit: Prismatic

  • Luster: Vitreous

  • Transparency: Transparent to translucent

  • Density: 3.28 to 3.35

  • Cleavage: {1011} Perfect

  • Fracture: Conchoidal to uneven

  • Birefringence: 0.051 to 0.053

  • Tenacity: Brittle

  • Streak: Green

  • Pleochroism: Weak (dark emerald green to light emerald green)

So how far back does dioptase go? Let’s see what this mineral’s history unveils.

dioptase gemstone ring

Dioptase Meaning & History

Dioptase was officially documented and named in 1797 by French mineralogist René Just Haüy. Known as the Founding Father of Crystallography, he even named other minerals such as amphibole, axinite, sphene, and disthene (kyanite), just to name a few.

However, dioptase made its appearance long before! 

Copper miners discovered dioptase at the tail-end of the 18th century in Kazakhstan. At first, Russian mineralogists thought it was emerald. In 1793, French mineralogist, J.C. De Lamétherie even categorized it as a “primitive version of emerald.”

When Haüy came around and recognized dioptase’s lower hardness compared to emerald (7.5 to 8), its higher specific gravity, and its green hues resulting from copper — he finally categorized dioptase as a new mineral. 

Some even believe the mineral dates back as far as the Stone Age! Archeologists discovered a famous group of ceramic figures in Ain Ghazal (an archeological site in present-day Jordan) believed to have been sculpted in 7200 BC. They found that a vivid green dioptase pigment was used to highlight the eyes on some of the sculptures.

History? Check. Next up, dioptase’s metaphysical properties! 

dioptase healing crystal druzy pendant

Dioptase Healing Properties

Almost every crystal has unique characteristics allowing you to use them as healing stones. Dioptase is no exception.

Dioptase crystal benefits your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness in myriad ways. In fact, 

Physical Healing

Physically, dioptase can help with wound healing, blood pressure regulation, migraine relief, pain relief, and detoxification. 

It’s believed that with each passing day, dioptase draws out more and more strength from your body that may have gone dormant. This strength is said to translate to every level of your being. 

Emotional Healing

Ever feel like your past is weighing you down? Do you find yourself dwelling on things you wish you would have done differently?

Meditating with dioptase allows you to release and forgive the past so you can be free. 

On that same note, dioptase encourages you to see your present life as one full of abundance, and that richness is an available, accessible state of being. 

Chakra Healing

You can use some crystals as chakra stones to activate and balance one of seven chakral points (or energy centers) along your body. 

Like many green gemstones, dioptase resonates with the heart chakra. This crystal can help heal your inner child and dispel unresolved emotions — like resentment, hatred, regret, and anger towards yourself or others.

Spiritual Healing

The dioptase spiritual meaning is highly regarded in crystal healing communities.

Some crystals (like rose quartz) are considered Seeker stones that aid you in finding success in new ventures. Others (like amethyst) are Energizer stones helping you gain what you seek, protect what you value, and defend you from undesirable elements of life on Earth.

Dioptase is both — making it a powerful Seeker-Energizer stone thought to be a conduit of Universal Life Force. This mineral’s vibrations can inspire energy and determination in your quest for change. 

This crystal is also a popular safety talisman, a talisman of profit, and a personal talisman in long-term efforts for wealth and financial security.

Ready to shop for dioptase? Then it’s time to shed light on what determines your gems’ value. 

dioptase gemstone cabochon with malachite azurite and chrysocollaPictured above: Dioptase mixed with chrysocolla, azurite, and malachite

Dioptase Gemstone Properties

Dioptase’s captivating emerald hues and doubly terminated, commonly prismatic crystal shapes are popular showpieces in mineral collections. More rarely, they make for one-of-a-kind freeform or raw jewelry stones.

When determining a dioptase's value, appraisers will assess color, cut, clarity, and size. 


Dioptase’s famous green color is thanks to oxidized portions of copper deposits.

The mineral’s vibrant, saturated greens and blues are its most desired hues. As such, these specimens command higher prices. Conversely, more muted-colored stones typically cost less.


Dioptase’s perfect cleavage and softness make faceted cuts difficult. It grinds away as a fairly fragile stone, leading the facet edges to crumble or split — hence, why faceted gems are rare and expensive.

More often, lapidaries cut sizable cabochons from translucent dioptase masses.

You’ll mostly find rough, uncut (raw) dioptase gems flooding the market. Depending on size and quality, they can vary in price. 


Dioptase crystals displaying high transparency and brilliance garner higher prices. In contrast, less-transparent specimens are typically cheaper. 

This crystal isn’t known to contain many inclusions. Rather, dioptase is more commonly included in other minerals like calcite, quartz, or chrysocolla.

Carat Weight

Large dioptase crystals are scarce. Small crystal clusters are more common. 

When large crystals are found, they rarely have many clean areas. Therefore, faceted gems rarely surpass 1-2 carats. However, masses may yield cabochons up to 15 carats.

That doesn’t mean you can’t find any good-quality, larger crystals, but their rarity will command much higher prices. 

Treatments and Synthetics 

While there aren’t any known enhancements for dioptase, scientists have synthesized crystals. However, there’s no known jewelry use for this lab-created fake dioptase.

Dioptase truly is a beguiling mineral. So how does it come to life?

dioptase gemstone rough crystal specimen

Dioptase Formation & Sources

Dioptase is a secondary copper silicate. It occurs naturally as an oxidation product of hydrothermal copper deposits. In other words, when primary minerals in limestone and calcite formations weather and oxidize, dioptase is born.

Geographically, how common is dioptase?

Mining Locations

For dioptase to form, it needs a warm, dry environment. Therefore, it’s mined chiefly in arid regions.

The highest-quality dioptase ever recorded came from Tsumeb, Namibia, the mineral’s most important deposit.

Dioptase’s second most prominent deposit is its original place of discovery: the central Asian steppes of Kazakhstan. 

Other notable deposits include:

  • Angola

  • Argentina

  • Australia

  • Canada

  • Chile

  • China

  • Czech Republic

  • DR Congo

  • France

  • Germany

  • Iran

  • Israel

  • Italy

  • Japan

  • Mexico

  • Morocco

  • New Zealand

  • Peru

  • Republic of the Congo

  • Romania

  • Russia

  • South Africa

  • United Kingdom

  • United States (mostly microscopic crystals)

  • Zambia

  • Zimbabwe

Shifting gears, you’ll want to know how much a dioptase costs so you can prep your budget. So let’s break down pricing!

dioptase gemstone ring

Dioptase Price & Value

Compared to other gems, the dioptase price per carat tends to be mid-range. Its principal value is as a mineral specimen; fine crystal and crystal aggregates command substantial prices.

Prices mainly fluctuate depending on quality, size, cut, and color. However, you can find a dioptase crystal for almost every price point. 

Rough dioptase generally retails for about $0.16 to $1.30 per carat. Higher-quality specimens can start at around $2 to $4 per carat.

Cabochons will run you between $8 to $11 per carat, but you can find them for as low as $1 to $3 per carat in some markets.

Due to its rarity, faceted dioptase is usually the most expensive. Gems generally cost around $25 to $60 per carat. Lower quality gems start at about $12 per carat. Higher quality ones can fetch $100 to $200 per carat.

Similarly, dioptase jewelry is hard to come by and commands higher prices. Their value also increases contingent on other metals and gems incorporated within their designs. 

Here are some general prices as a baseline: 

  • Rings average between $85 to $100. Higher-end pieces have garnered prices as high as $35,000. 

  • Bracelets cost anywhere between $50 to $240. On the lower end, you can find them for about $10. Higher quality pieces can cost as much as $500.

  • Pendants fall anywhere between $70 to $600. You can find lower-quality pendants for as little as $15 and higher-quality ones for as much as $4300.

Carvings (like dioptase spheres) average between $50 to $3000, depending on size and quality. 

Now that you have a better idea of what dioptase is worth let’s wrap up our guide with tips for gemstone care.

Dioptase Care and Maintenance

Although dioptase is moderately hard, its cleavage makes it prone to fractures and splits. 

To clean your dioptase, use a soft brush, mild soap, and warm water. Gently brush away impurities and dry the stone with a soft, non-abrasive cloth. Store your gems in a cool, dry, safe place away from sudden changes in temperature, harsh chemicals, and harder gems.

Dioptase specimens are generally safe and harmless to handle. However, the mineral’s copper content deems the stone’s dust toxic. You should wear protective masks and gloves to avoid inhaling or ingesting particles during cutting, polishing, and cleaning.

emerald green dioptase gemstone rough crystal specimen

Set Yourself Free with Dioptase!

Dioptase crystals’ beauty will captivate collectors and unique jewelry lovers for years to come. So whether you wish to display its bold appearance in your crystal collection or flaunt an eclectic accessory on your next night out, this rare and obscure mineral turns heads every time. 

Living without regrets? That’s just a bonus.

Buy dioptase gemstones today!

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