By Reviewed By Andreas Zabczyk

Rhodochrosite Gemstone Information

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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 color. The name rhodochrosite comes from the Greek word, "rhodokhros", meaning "rose colored". 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-colored 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.

Rhodochrosite Gemstone

Identifying Rhodochrosite

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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

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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

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Rhodochrosite Color

Rhodochrosite is raspberry red and pink. In aggregate form it is striped, often with zig zag patterns. Crystals are deep raspberry red, but rare. Rhodochrosite gets its color from the presence of manganese.

Rhodochrosite Clarity and Luster

Rhodochrosite is generally opaque, though transparent crystals are seen. Transparent crystals are usually heavily included. When polished, rhodochrosite has a vitreous, resinous or pearly luster.

Rhodochrosite Cut and Shape

Rhodochrosite is mostly cut en cabochon or carved. It can also be tumbled or drilled. Crystals can be faceted, but they are rare and usually heavily included.

Rhodochrosite Treatment

Rhodochrosite is not known to be treated or enhanced in any way.

Rhodochrosite Gemological Properties:

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Chemical Formula: MnCO3 Manganese carbonate
Crystal Structure: Trigonal, rhombohedra
Color: Rose-red to yellowish, striped
Hardness: 4 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.600 - 1.820
Density: 3.45 - 3.70
Cleavage: Perfect
Transparency: Transparent to opaque
Double Refraction or Birefringence: -0.208 to -0.220
Luster: Vitreous, pearly, resinous
Fluorescence: Weak; red

Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.

Rhodochrosite: Related or Similar Gemstones

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Rhodonite Cabochon

As a manganese mineral, rhodochrosite is related to rhodonite, which is manganese silicate. Rhodonite has a similar rosy color 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

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Rhodochrosite's pink color 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.

Disclaimer: Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers and Properties are not to be taken as confirmed advice. Traditional, Ceremonial and Mythological Gemstone Lore is collected from various resources and does not represent the sole opinion of SETT Co., Ltd. This information is not to replace the advice of your doctor. Should you have any medical conditions, please see a licensed medical practitioner. GemSelect does not guarantee any claims or statements of healing or astrological birthstone powers and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.

Rhodochrosite Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas

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Rhodochrosite's intriguing colors 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 colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamonds by weight in comparison.

Famous Rhodochrosite Gemstones

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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 Jewelry Care and Cleaning

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How to clean your gemstonesRhodochrosite 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 jewelry 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 jewelry box.

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