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Beading Q And A: Rhodochrosite (5/18/2011)

2011 May 18

Sandy asks…

How can you tell the difference between a rough of Rhodonite and Rhodochrosite?

I got a couple of pink rocks in an estate sale, in a box full of rocks. Problem is, after I slab it, how do I know if it’s Rhodonite or Rhodochrosite? They look the same when the Rhodochrosite doesn’t have bands. Lapidary people out there, let me know any ideas on this.

BeadGal answers:

Rhodonite lacks rhodochrosite’s banding and is usually pink with black veins.

Susan asks…

How is the gem Rhodochrosite prepared before being sold?

BeadGal answers:

It depends on the grade – if it is opaque (you look at it – not into or thru it), then it is cabochon-ed (flat bottom – smoothed and rounded over on top). If it a high grade (one that you can see thru) then it is faceted (many small flat spots on the gem) – a round diamond has 58 facets. A nice faceted high grade can go for $ 200. – $500. Per caret. One 16 oz. Pound has 454 grams, 1 gram has 5 carets, – 1 pound has 2,270 carets. 1 pound of high grade of faceted rhodochrosite can be worth – $454,000. Up to $ 1,135,000. While a very low grade of rough can go for as low $100. (Rough is a piece that is mined, but nothing done to it – same as it was in the earth).

Linda asks…

What is Rhodochrosite?

Is it a crystal, mineral, or rock?

BeadGal answers:

The first answer is correct rhodochrosite is a beautiful mineral. Rhodochrosite is a manganese carbonate mineral with chemical composition MnCO3. In its (rare) pure form, it is typically a rose-red color, but impure specimens can be shades of pink to pale brown. It crystallizes in the trigonal system, the cleavage is typical rhombohedral carbonate cleavage in three directions. Here are some pictures:

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/minerals/imgmin/rhodochrosite.jpg
http://www.capecodrocks.com/rhodochrosite.gif
http://www.capitalmineralclub.org/Images/rhodochrosite1.jpg
http://www.amonline.net.au/chapman/images/full/50701.jpg

Donna asks…

Is the gem “PINK RHODOCHROSITE” sedamentary, metamorphic, or igneous?

BeadGal answers:

Rhodochrosite is a manganese carbonate mineral that precipitates in hydrothermal veins. The degree of redness or pinkness will depend on the amount of magnesium or other trace amounts of other heavier elements. You should be able to figure out what type of mineral this is based upon it’s inclusion in the carbonate group. Good luck!

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