Rhodochrosite Gemstone Information
About Rhodochrosite - History and Introduction
Rhodochrosite is a manganese mineral that makes an interesting gemstone due to its distinctive raspberry red and pink stripes. Due to its composition, rhodochrosite is also referred to as manganesespar or as raspberryspar with reference to its colour. The name rhodochrosite comes from the Greek word, "rhodokhros", meaning "rose coloured". In Argentina, rhodochrosite stalagmites formed in Inca silver mines that were abandoned centuries ago. Sometimes it is also called "Rosa del Inca" or "Inca rose stone" and it is said that the Incas believed that rhodochrosite was the blood of their former rulers that had turned to stone.
Rhodochrosite occurs in both aggregate and crystal form. The transparent raspberry-coloured crystal form is rare and is bought at high prices by collectors. Rhodochrosite is the national gemstone of Argentina and the state mineral of Colorado, due to significant deposits being discovered in both places.
Identifying Rhodochrosite Back to Top
Rhodochrosite can be identified by its raspberry red and pink stripes with zig zag bands. In aggregate form it exhibits these unique markings. It can also be distinguished from other material by its Mohs scale hardness of 4.
Rhodochrosite; Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top
The main rhodochrosite deposits are in Argentina. Other sources include Chile, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and the USA. Rhodochrosite crystals are also found in Romania and Hungary.
Buying Rhodochrosite and Determining Rhodochrosite Gemstone Value Back to Top
Rhodochrosite Gemmological Properties: Back to Top
Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemmology-related terms.
Rhodochrosite: Related or Similar Gemstones Back to Top
As a manganese mineral, rhodochrosite is related to rhodonite, which is manganese silicate. Rhodonite has a similar rosy colour to rhodochrosite, but usually has black dendritic inclusions of manganese oxide. As a member of the calcite group, rhodochrosite is related to smithsonite, gaspeite and calcite. Rhodochrosite can also appear similar to fire opal, tugtupite (also known as reindeer stone), pink tourmaline and bustamite.
Rhodochrosite Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers Back to Top
Rhodochrosite's pink colour associates it with emotional healing, love, compassion, creativity and intuition. Rhodochrolite is thought to encourage positive feelings, personal strength and to soothe its wearer. Physically, rhodochrolite is said to help blood pressure, respiration, migraines and the sexual organs. In traditional Hindu beliefs, rhodochrolite is associated with Anahata, or the heart chakra, which is related to peace, decision-making, love, compassion and psychic healing.
Rhodochrosite Gemstone and Jewellery Design Ideas Back to Top
Rhodochrosite's intriguing colours and pattern make it an appropriate gemstone for pendants, rings and earrings. For rings that are worn daily, protective settings such as bezel settings are recommended, since rhodochrosite is a fairly soft gemstone. Rhodochrosite is used to make beautiful spherical beads, or can be used as stacked chips. For pendants, fancy-shaped rhodochrosite can be drilled or wire-wrapped. Alternatively, sleek modern designs use smooth bezel-set rhodochrosite for necklace pendants, earrings or bracelets. These not only look stunning, but have the advantage of being less prone to scratches.
Note: Buy coloured gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Coloured stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamonds by weight in comparison.
Famous Rhodochrosite Gemstones Back to Top
At the 2014 Oscars, Amy Adams wore $1.4 million gold, rhodochrosite, lapis lazuli and turquoise earrings by Tiffany & Co.
Rhodochrosite gemstone jewels have not achieved fame, but the largest faceted rhodochrosite weighs 59.65 carats, is from South Africa and belongs to a private collector.
One of the best-known mineral specimens is owned by world-famous mineral and gemstone expert, Bill Larson. The rhodochrosite crystals on manganite are known as "the snail" due to their unusual snail-like appearance.
A 10 cm rhodochrosite crystal on quartz and tetrahedrite matrix, known as "The Alma Queen" is another famous mineral specimen. It is the finest known example of rhodochrolite and mineral collectors consider it to be the finest mineral specimen of any kind ever found.
The largest known rhodochrosite crystal is known as "The Alma King" and is on display at Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It was found in the Sweet Home Mine near Alma, Colorado.
Rhodochrosite Gemstone Jewellery Care and Cleaning Back to Top
Rhodochrosite is a fairly soft gemstone, so it should be cared for in order to prevent damage. Since household dust contains quartz, which has a Mohs scale hardness of 7, simply wiping dust from a rhodochrosite gemstone could cause scratches. The best way to clean rhodochrosite gemstones is by using soapy water and a soft cloth. Be sure to rinse well to remove soapy residue. Do not expose rhodochrosite to household chemicals or excessive heat. As with most gemstones, ultrasonic cleaners and steamers are not recommended. Always remove any jewellery or gemstones before exercising, cleaning or engaging in harsh physical activities such as sports. Rhodochrosite can be easily scratched by harder substances, so it should be stored away from other gemstones. It is best to wrap gemstones in soft cloth or place them inside a fabric-lined jewellery box.
- First Published: March-18-2014
- Last Updated: August-07-2015
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