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The chemical formula of the mineral Dioptase is indicated by CuSiO3 – H2O, a Hydrated Copper Silicate. Dioptase is actually a Silicate mineral. The mineral was first discovered in Kazakhstan in the year 1797. The name of the mineral is derived from the Greek words dia, which means through and optima, which means vision. This is an allusion to the two directions of the cleavage that are usually visible inside the unbroken Dioptase crystal. The name was actually given by Hauy in 1797. Mineral Dioptase is known to crystallize in the hexagonal system, showing rhombic sections that can be clearly visible when viewed under polarizing microscopes for geologists. In optical mineralogy, the hexagonal system of crystallization comprises crystals having four axes. Three of which are positioned in a single plane with equal lengths and are symmetrically spaced. The fourth axis is found to be perpendicular to the other three axes.

 

Dioptase is commonly used as mineral specimen and it usually exhibits splendid images when viewed under polarizing microscopes used in optical mineralogy. Dioptase is rarely used as a gemstone although it can also display an interesting image under gemological microscope. Dioptase is also considered as a very minor ore of copper. Dioptase is actually one of the few minerals that have the capability to challenge peerlessness of the fascinating deep green color of emerald stone. But Dioptase is unfortunately a soft mineral to be fashioned as gemstone. It also has a good cleavage that can be seen clearly under petrological microscope, and this quality makes Dioptase unsuitable for gemstone purposes although it can exhibit wonderful brilliance just like other gems or much brighter when compared. Specimens of mineral Dioptase are still being treasured by those who like deep green minerals for collection.

 

            Dioptase forms crystals that are the same as the rhombohedral shape of a typical carbonate mineral and this can be seen clearly exhibited when the mineral is evaluated closely with the aid of the petrographic polarizing microscope. Mineral Dioptase is also found sharing the same symmetry with the typically ice clear phenakite, which is a silicate mineral as well as with the fluorescent but rarely well crystallized willemite mineral. Dioptase mineral specimens are often found deeply colored. It also forms well-developed crystals that can be very interesting when viewed with the aid of the polarizing microscopes. The rhombohedron and prism faces can be seen clearly under petrographic polarizing microscope due to the fairly high luster exhibited by the mineral is reflected light. Dioptase mineral crystals can appear quite clear, and there can be times when they seem to look cloudy because of its very deep color. There are a few sources of mineral Dioptase. But despite this, its market supply for fine specimens are still available and in large quantities.

 

            Mineral Dioptase is commonly found having deep green color that is more splendidly attractive when viewed under the petrographic polarizing light microscopes. Dioptase is commonly found exhibiting a vitreous luster in reflected light of the polarized microscope. Dioptase is commonly found showing perfect cleavage in three directions and are usually found forming rhombohedrons when evaluated with the aid of polarizing light microscopes. Dioptase is most commonly found exhibiting a conchoidal fracture when viewed under polarizing light microscope. Dioptase crystals are also brittle. The hardness measure of the mineral Dioptase when it is evaluated using the Mohs scale method is usually 5. The specific gravity measure of the mineral is usually at about 3.3+ grams per cubic centimeters, which is considered slightly above average. When the mineral is rubbed on a white porcelain streak plate, it is commonly found leaving a green streak.

 

            The crystal habit of the mineral Dioptase commonly include stubby crystals that can be very fascinating when viewed under geological polarizing microscopes. These stubby crystals are usually well-formed prisms that are topped with rhombohedron having three faces. The prims found are usually six-sided and not very long. There can be also some simple rhombohedrons that can be found. Sometimes a second rhombohedron will actually modify the primary rhombohedron faces and this will produce a second set of three smaller faces. Diopside can be also found in crusts or massive forms.

 

            Mineral Dioptase is commonly found having index of refraction ranging from 1.65 to 1.71 as described in optical mineralogy. Mineral Dioptase is commonly found showing a uniaxial figure when viewed between crossed nicols of polarized microscopes for mineralogist. The maximum birefringence of the mineral is usually 0.053. Dioptase also exhibits a high surface relief when it is evaluated under several minor adjustments on the aperture diaphragm of the petrographic polarizing microscope. Dioptase commonly exhibits weak pleochroism in plane-polarized light of polarizing microscopes used in optical mineralogy. Dioptase is also not magnetic and at the same time not fluorescent mineral. Dioptase is also not radioactive. There is no specific data found on the toxicity and health dangers for mineral Dioptase. However, the specimens of this mineral should be treated with great care and use of sensible precautions is advised upon handling them.

 

            Dioptase is also commonly associated with other interesting minerals like calcite, dolomite, chrysocolla, cerussite, limonite and other copper minerals. The best field indicators of mineral Dioptase usually include hardness, deep color, and crystal habit. Dioptase mineral can be found mostly in desert regions as a secondary mineral in the oxidized zone of copper sulfide mineral deposits. The mineral notably occurs at some famous mineral localities including Tsumeb in Namibia, Russia, Chile, Zaire and also California and Arizona in the United States



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Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 at 7:28 am
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The Silicates Mineral Class
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