Rhodochrosite

 

I.

Rhodochrosite is considered one of the most beautiful minerals found on Earth. Its crystals are intensely red or hot pink, which leaves an overwhelming impression and strikes a fairly high price on the gem`s market. There are particularly attractive examples, rich in colour, from the mine "Sweet Home" in Colorado. One of the largest and most stunning crystals was found in that mine in 1960. Also, "Sweet Home" was the excavation site for another beautiful specimen of Rhodochrosite in 1922. This specimen was 15cm (almost 6 inch) in length and was named "Alma King". This piece of Rhodochrosite is kept in Denver museum. To see please follow this link.

In addition to the significant findings in Argentina and Colorado, Rhodochrosite has also been uncovered in Peru, Montana (USA), and Quebec (Canada).

II.

Rhodochrosite is found in the form of stalactites and stalagmites up to 0.5 m thickness and 3 m in length. It is formed from condensed water droplets coming from rocks inside the caves of Argentina, known as Capillitas. It is one of the most diversified mineralogy sites as about one hundred minerals are known to exist there, including rare forms like colusite, germanite, and putzite. It is a fantastic site, reminding us that there are many things on this Earth we need to preserve and see, if not to comprehend, then at least to love. At high altitudes, there are actually mines situated in the crevices of the mountains from which the people of the Incas, during the 13th century, mined silver and copper.

 

 

 

 

III.

An interesting belief of Incan people is that Rhodochrosite is imbued with the blood of their former rulers and their wives. Therefore, these nations called Rhodochrosite "Rosa del Inca," which literally translates to Red of the Incas. In 2002, this stone was officially declared the national stone of Argentina.

 

IV.

Rhodochrosite’s name derives from the Greek word Rhodokhros that translates as pink-coloured (or rose-coloured).

On the Rhodochrosite skin we can usually see pinkish and white bands or rings, so it is easily recognisable. Because of its beauty it is often used for making figurines or cut into tiles and boxes and polished for collectors. Jewellery manufacturers usually combine it with silver and gold. It is a relatively soft stone, 3.5-4 on Moh`s scale, and its colour varies from cherry red, pink-red, to yellow and beige. The dark red variety is considered very valuable as it is rare on the jewels market. This stone is mostly opaque and usually cut en cabochon, faceted in brilliant cut shape, or carved in raw, rough shapes. Faceted stones are rare because of its softness and fragility, so they are considered collector’s items.