In this work a rare and attractive blue diopside present in Sissone valley in the Western Alps was investigated through different methodologies: geological survey; standard gemological methods; X-Ray Powder Diffraction; SEM observations; Raman spectrometry; EMP analyses of major elements; and LA-ICP-MS analyses for minor and trace elements. The host rock of investigated gems is represented by a Mg-calcite bearing marble, belonging to the Suretta nappe and composed of blue diopside, lizardite, phlogopite, forsterite, Ca-Mg-amphibole, and thomsonite; the rock was metamorphosed by the intrusion of Masino-Bregaglia pluton. The diopside is generally found in the core of veins in contact with green–blue tremolite and, more externally, with green–yellowish lizardite. The diopside samples show opaque diaphaneity, are inert to long and short-waves UV radiation, and their specific density varies between 3.24 and 3.30 g/cm3 while medium refraction between 1.680–1.683. The diopside shows a polycrystalline texture with interstitial Mg-calcite which acts as binder. The characteristic blue–turquoise color is mainly determined by traces of V and subordinately of Fe, Mn, Cr and Ti. The contents of V and Ti show a good positive correlation. The minerals associated with diopside in the lenticular veins also show enrichments in V. The blue diopside of the Sissone valley could certainly present a good commercial value, but unfortunately it is difficult to reach the outcrop sites.
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