Historical information

This specimen was donated in 1868 by Alfred Selwyn. Olivine is typically found in basic and ultra-basic igneous rocks around the world, in a variety of colours including yellowish green, olive green, greenish black and reddish brown with a transparent to translucent diaphaneity. The luster of the specimen is vitreous, the luminescence non-fluorescent and when fractured the mineral is very brittle producing small, conchoidal fragments. Chromian diopside is normally found in small sizes as the larger the size of the mineral the darker the colour is, almost black rather than green. Chromium is the element that gives chromian diopside and emeralds their rich green colour. Diopside is found across the world in multiple colours however gem-quality chromian diopside is mined in Siberia, Russia and prominent within the jewellery industry as a more affordable substitute to emeralds. Chromium-bearing diopside has been located across Australia.


Chromium-bearing Diopside is located across the world found in North America, parts of South America, and across Australia, Africa, Europe and Asia. Chromium-bearing Diopside is mined in Siberia, Russia and is sold as a commercial substitute for emeralds. The stone is often turned into jewellery.

This item is one of many geological and mineral specimens that constitute a broader collection obtained from various regions across Australia (as well as some international locales) and generously contributed to the Burke Museum between 1868 and 1880. A significant portion of these specimens originated from Victoria and were acquired as a result of the Geological Survey of Victoria, initiated in 1852 during the Gold Rush era. The primary objective of this survey was to investigate and chart the geological characteristics of Victoria. The procurement of geological specimens played a vital role in advancing our comprehension of the Earth's scientific composition and was instrumental in supporting research and educational institutions throughout Australia, including the Burke Museum, in their efforts to foster further exploration and study.

Physical description

A solid mineral specimen in shades of green, grey and brown