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Tashmarine - Next big thing?

Hi all,

Wonder if some of you have seen the ‘buzz’ around: Tashmarine, I need
to ask what the heck is it ? Looks like Diopside, tastes like…
well you get the picture any Gemmologists on the list get a chance to
work with it?

Taylor in Toronto

Wonder if some of you have seen the 'buzz' around: Tashmarine, I
need to ask what the heck is it ? Looks like Diopside, tastes

The diopside resemblance is not coincidental. According to the
website below, tashmarine IS diopside, although its marketers claim
it is a new and unique variety of same.

This is all so wearisome. The fact that the stone is a bit different
in color than other deposits of diopside would merit a geographical
decscriptor such as “Paraiba tourmaline” enjoys. It does not merit a
name which obscures the fact that it is diopside, and worse, which
suggests to the unwary that it is somehow related to aquamarine.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry

Hi Taylor,

While I haven’t had the chance to work with it, I have read a little
about it in GIA’s EBSCO archives. It is found along the Old Silk
Road in Central Asia. Gemologically, it is reported as a
(relatively) new variety of Diopside, albeit somewhat brighter and
lighter in color. Hardness is 5.5 - 6. Refractive Index 1.675 -
1.701 +.029 -.010 with a spot reading of 1.68. Birefringence .024 -
.030 and SG 3.22 - 3.40. Basically, it has all the properties of
Diopside. All-in-all, an attractive stone.

The word “tash” in many of the languages of the Central Asian region
in which it is found means “stone.” So, “Sea-colored stone.” I’m
sure there are colloquial interpretations among the people of the
area, but I’ve on idea what they could be.

I wouldn’t use such a soft stone for a ring or bracelet, but an
enormous number of people use Tanzanite in those types of pieces.
Tanzanite (Zoisite) has one perfect cleavage, while Diopside has
two. Even less of a reason to wear it on a hand or wrist.

James in SoFl

If tashmarine does become the ‘next big thing’, I’ll wager it won’t
be long before we see ‘lab tashmarine’ listings sprouting up on EBay.

Thanks for the Gem specific data, and feedback everyone. I
personally do not agree with these silly ‘shopping channel’ trade
names but hey it worked for Zoi-uhhh-Tanzanite.

All the best this holiday season,
Taylor in Toronto

    If tashmarine does become the 'next big thing', I'll wager it
won't be long before we see 'lab tashmarine' listings sprouting up
on EBay. 

You’re likely correct, Pat. And that will depend somewhat on eBay’s
policing and Columbia Gem House’s policies, since Tashmarine is a
trademark name held by that company. It would really have to catch
on in a big way for a company to synthesize Diopside, though. The
gemologist in me hopes that it doesn’t.

Now, for an opinion or two. Although reported as a new “variety,” it
really isn’t. It’s just a pale, light yellowish green-colored
Diopside that Columbia Gem House trademarked with a fancy name, or
so it is from the info I can find. That, in and of itself, isn’t a
reason to regard it as something extra-special, but there is at
least one other consideration. Besides being difficult to cut (2
perfect cleavages, yikes!), green, or Chrome, Diopside usually
becomes darker as the finished stone gets larger. As a result,
faceted stones over 3 carats aren’t common. This new find, however,
is reputed to keep its’ color and brilliance even in larger finished
sizes. So, if you like the visual properties of this stone, and you
want it fairly large, it may be something people will queue up for.
I’ll be looking for it at the shows.

James in SoFl


I cut the diopside from the the area of the southern Soviet Union in
about 1988. Five Lions Gems had a parcel that I bought. For those of
you who do not know Five Lions they are an Afghanistan Trading
Company of mostly rough stone. Wally, the owner, told me it came
for Afghanistan, but subsequently I found out that it came from area
close to Afghanistan. This was back when Wally and Five Lions were
part of the “Free Afghanistan Movement”. My parcel was about 300
grams and most of it was a washed out greenish yellow. But, there
were three or four stones that cut a more yellow than green of
magnificent fire. These were true gems. I would not consider them
jewelry stones because of their physical properties, but as a stand
alone gem for collectors they were gems. A collector bought them the
first time I showed them and unfortunately I sold all I had.

When you see one that is a gem you will be mesmirized by the color
and intensity of he fire.

Gerry Galarneau

If you have ever stood in a booth, down a long isle in major gem
show and looked up and down that isle, it is humbling to think that
there are so many people chasing what appears to be an ever
diminishing customer base with far too few dollars in their pockets.
Consequently many dealers who are what I refer to as =93bag men=94 as
opposed to miner/producers are always looking for some marketing
angle to differentiate themselves from the herd. Over the years this
quest for market differentiation has led to a bloated lexicon of gem
industry jargon that ultimately does the industry and hence the
public it serves a disservice. Consider that the average counter
sale is executed by a salesperson with limited technical background,
marginal gemological skills, who in all likelihood has no idea what
is involved in producing the gems that go into the jewelry that she
or he is trying to sell. How is this person going to explain to their
customer what Tasmarine is? My experience has been that confused
customers don=92t buy and as a result this ever increasing tendency to
"jargonize" is a recipe for mass confusion, which explains why
diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds and a couple of other common
gem materials dominate the cash flow. Consumers understand what they
are or at least are comfortable with the names associated with the

Over the years I have been involved in bringing a number of
materials to the specialty colored stone market including, Ponderosa
Mine Sunstone, Arizona pyrope, Namibian spessartines, Neu Schawben
tourmaline, and Namibian Demantoid. While I have used what I thought
were some clever advertising campaigns with some of these materials,
“Screaming Red” for the pyrope and “Fresh Squeezed” for the
spessartines I never thought it prudent to use terminology that
obscured the identity of the material or its origin. I have always
thought it more important to provide a well-cut, calibrated (where
appropriate) competitively priced product then to attempt to build
market differentiation via clever fabricated nomenclature.

Diopside is a pyroxene, a calcium, magnesium silicate from a class of
silicate minerals known as inosilicates. It is a fairly common rock
forming mineral and rarely of sufficient size, purity and pleasingly
colored to fashion into gems. It forms a complete solid solution
series with hedenbergite, which is a calcium iron silicate. In basic
terms a solid solution series is a line, diopside is on one end and
hedenbergite is on the other. There are essentially a limitless
number of intermediate members of this series with variable magnesium
to iron ratios between pure diopside on one end and pure hedenbergite
on the other. So is Tasmarine something new in the mineralogical
sense of the word new? Probably not, analysis would likely show it to
be yet another intermediate member in the diopside-hedenbergite solid
solution series. In the mineralogical sense of the word new it would
have to exhibit either distinctive chemistry or a distinctive atomic
structure to qualify as something =93"new" and if that were the case i=
would not be diopside nor would it likely be a intermediate member in
the diopside-hedenbergite solid solution series. It would be
something “new”. (I note that the Tasmarine marketeers admit it is

Were Tasmarine something new a researcher would have described the
mineral, chemistry, atomic structure, crystal morphology, genesis,
its host rock environment and submitted the description to the IMA
(International Mineralogical Association) for consideration for
classification as a new mineral species. Had it been accepted as a
new species it then would have had its name submitted to the
Nomenclature Committee of the IMA for approval. At that point if
approved the new species would have joined the other more then 4000
described, approved mineral species. Once that happened it would get
to have its name capitalized at the beginning of a sentence and
everywhere else would be all lower case letters. (Look at Demantoid
and Sunstone above I capitalized these names because they are proper
names and not accepted mineral species where pyrope, tourmaline and
spessartines are accepted mineral species)

I strongly believe as an industry it is our obligation to disclose
treatments and to provide our customers (wholesale or retail) with
accurate descriptions of materials. (most of my tourmalines are
burned and my demantoid is 100% natural) This in turn builds trust
and serves to keep our industry out of the tabloids and off 60
minutes. In no way to I intend to demean the effort of the Tasmarine
marketeers to bring something different to the market. I applaud
their determination in attempting to market a material with hardness
of 5-6 with 2 directions of imperfect cleavage and a third direction
of parting. My own experience with Ponderosa Mine Sunstone showed
that the market was prepared to accept softer materials with
cleavage problems and pay serious money for it, as long as they
understood what it was and how to use it. If you can accept that
besides having some fun in the gem and jewelry “bidness” our common
goal is to succeed in getting our customers to overcome the hand to
wallet reflex, I would close with this question, are the market and
the public interests served by Tasmarine or would their interests be
better served by calling it “______” diopside where the blank is
filled in by the Tajik name for the deposits origin?

Christopher L. Johnston
Omaruru ~ Namibia

I very much doubt it will be diopside at all. One seller lists ‘lab
emeralds’ and on enquiry (I wanted hydrothermal) I was told that his
listed ‘emeralds’ are green quartz, CZ or corundum depending on


    I very much doubt it will be diopside at all. One seller lists
'lab emeralds' and on enquiry (I wanted hydrothermal) I was told
that his listed 'emeralds' are green quartz, CZ or corundum
depending on size. 

Again, you are likely correct. Recently, I was in a local supply
house that has “synthetic” emeralds (I was looking for a flux-grown
emerald for my gemological collection…they are beautiful under the
microscope). What they have is a synthetic spinel triplet with green
glue in-between. It is no wonder to me when the public doesn’t feel
trusting toward even reputable dealers, much less eBay. Considering
that, I do wonder why so many gems are bought and sold there.

James in SoFl

Along the lines of this discussion, I was wondering - how and why do
some gemstones acquire a trademark? I’m certainly no gemologist and
this is probably naEEve of me, but it seems rather arrogant to take
some beautiful material that has been in the earth’s crust for a few
hundred million years, polish it up, and slap some goofy trade name
on it, with a tm to boot. It’s the sort of thing that would really
have ticked off Chief Seattle.

I’m not referring to stones with patented treatment processes, dyes,
or finishes (like iridized topaz, dyed chalcedony, and such), but to
stones that are apparently natural and un-messed-around-with. The
example that comes to mind, and that annoys me every time I look at
the Rio catalog, is “Gympie™” gold-in quartz. I mean, what kind of
a name is “Gympie” for a perfectly respectable gemstone? I’m not even
sure how to pronounce it, and it’s tant amount to an insult to Mother
Nature, IMHO.

[End of rant]

Jessee Smith

    Along the lines of this discussion, I was wondering - how and
why do some gemstones acquire a trademark? 

Jessee, I don’t believe the gemstones themselves are trademarked,
but some companies trademark their own names for them. Actually, it
is more often a matter of trademarking a name for a particular
color of a gemstone, i.e. cognac, or champagne diamonds, although
any of them may be treated to bring them to a particular color,
clarity, etc.

How they do it is probably typical - via international trademark
laws. Why? Now, that’s another matter. The small, brown, yellow and
highly included diamonds that are typical of the Argyle mine’s
output were more often suited for grinding up into industrial grit
until they trademarked the words “Champagne” and “Cognac.” Nearly
any consumer would prefer to buy their loved one a “Champagne
Diamond” over a "Nitrogen-heavy, I3 clarity yellow diamond."
Salespeople would never make a living from it if they sold an
engagement ring with a “Lovely 1/2 carat Chunk of Visibly Grained
Industrial Bort.” Jewelry-loving consumers will watch Jewelry
Television and spend all kinds of money on “Tashmarine” but probably
would be turned off listening to a pitch for “Light Yellowish-Green

Tiffany & Co. knew exactly what they were doing when they decided to
market that violetish-blue variety of Zoisite as Tanzanite back in
the 1960s. It lent a more interesting and exotic-sounding name to a
gem that would otherwise probably have been largely ignored. This
"new variety" of Diopside may well be largely ignored…or not. But
trademarking and promoting it in a romantic way will certainly give
the owner of the trademarked name the opportunity to create desire
for it, just as was done with Tanzanite and the various diamond bort
now marketed under more romantic names.

James in SoFl

Per the discussion of trademarking names for colors of stones-- does
that mean that I would be breaking the law if I start referring to my
very pretty, brownish 2 carat Australian diamond (not yet set) as


    Per the discussion of trademarking names for colors of
stones-- does that mean that I would be breaking the law if I start
referring to my very pretty, brownish 2 carat Australian diamond
(not yet set) as "cognac"? 


To be honest, I don’t think you would be breaking the law with that.
In a previous post, I was talking about trademarks and patents, but
the terms “canary,” “champagne” and “cognac” have become somewhat
standard for describing yellow- and brown-colored diamonds. The real
problem in using them is that they are too subjective and aren’t
precisely standardized. One person’s “cognac” is another person’s
"dark champagne." One person’s “canary” is another person’s “lemon
yellow” or “harvest gold.” No two people have the same perception of
what those descriptions mean.

One company is using another descriptive term: “sherry diamond.”
(and now, a little sarcasm)…There will probably be dealers
somewhere in the deep south of the US calling them “Southern Comfort
diamonds.” Pick a locale and invent your own romantic name for
it…that’s what makes the value rise…and I doubt anyone will have
a legal problem with you calling your diamond whatever you like :slight_smile:

James in SoFl

    Per the discussion of trademarking names for colors of
stones-- does that mean that I would be breaking the law if I start
referring to my very pretty, brownish 2 carat Australian diamond
(not yet set) as "cognac"? 

You are free to USE, and even REGISTER (if you like), Noel* or Noel
Diamonds for selling diamonds and then use that as a mark that
signifies the SOURCE of goods so labeled as of your origin—the
public doesn’t even have to know or care whether you are the real
origin or an exclusive origin or even who you are. Trademarks, to be
legitimate as trademarks, are not the names of things but only A
source identifier such that customers becoming familiar with the
brand (think they) know something about it. (It’s generally construed
to be positive and companies will abandon trademarks that become

If “cognac” diamond is recognized as a generic descriptive term for
a particular range of colors of diamonds you are totally free to use
that descriptor yourself but you could NOT use it as your trademark
(whether registered or not–registration would presumably be denied)
for diamonds you sell or provide to others to sell and have licensed
to use your trademark. (Interesting note: “cognac” is the first
trademark word I’ve looked up where there were more DEAD listings
than LIVE listings----that should tell you something about the
public’s perception of the (non)value of the word as a source
designator. Also “COGNAC TOPAZ” is currently going through the
registration process and my bet is you’ll find it abandoned without
becoming registered most likely because they’ll have no evidence the
name signifies SOURCE rather than color.)

Also be aware that a violation of trademark rights is not
(necessarily) a violation of the law, you have to keep the law and
someone’s legal rights separate. You can violate someone’s rights
without violating the law and while the police (or FTC or government
whoever) won’t come after you the rights holder very well might drag
you into civil court to enforce their rights. (There has been a
steady creep in recent years to move more and more trademark
violation into the law-breaking category but it is generally for the
protection of consumers against fraudulent use of marks or near
marks than it is for protection of the trademark holder. Also it’s
generally only effective against those in this country who
currently import and sell such fraudulently marked merchandise
and has little effect on the root suppliers or their future sales

*“Noel” is currently registered in the US as a trademark for
neckties, fruits, meats, scented candles, fragrances for other
things, gift wrapping, Christmas lights, and pickles and spices and
other preserves.

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of “Will It Sell? How to Determine If
Your Invention Is Profitably Marketable (Before Wasting Money on a
Patent)” Info Sites:,

Jessee and All,

Gympie is the name of a lovely city in Queensland, Austarlia, due
North of Brisbane. It is pronounced like the vulgar expression for
someone with a lame leg. While in Hervey Bay, Qsld. last year, I had
the pleasure of visiting Gympie on a couple of occasions. The area
is known for past discoveries of gold. The sweet and generous people
of the Hervey Bay Rock and Gem Club gave me a couple of pieces of
"Gympie-ite" which is a very nice green striated jasper. They also
gave me some of their local rock and some hours of pleasant company.
Alas, it was too hot to travel to the sapphire mines up north, as it
was 45 degrees celsius and distinctly uncomfortable!

Gail Bumala

Gympie is the name of a lovely city in Queensland, Austarlia, due
North of Brisbane.

How embarrassing…I hope the people of Gympie will forgive me! I
was mostly reacting to the negative connotations of the name
pronounced as per your indication.

Well, at least now I can quit being annoyed by the name when I see
it in the Rio Catalog :wink:

Jessee Smith