The Rhodochrosite mineral is a carbonate of Manganese, and has a chemical composition of MnCO3. It displays a red-rose color in its pure form and pale brown to pinkish shades when impure. Crystallizing in the trigonal arrangement, it has a white streak, depicts a three directional cleavage of rhombohedral carbonate, including frequent crystal twinning.
Derivation of Name
According to Radulescu and Dimitrescu, in 1966 along with Papp, 1997, the credit for describing the mineral for the first time goes to Sacaramb, Romania and not Cavnic, Romania. It gets its name from Greek word ῥοδόχρως signifying rose-colored.
Occurrence and Source
The Mineral Rhodochrosite mineral is found as a hydrothermal vein in the company of other minerals of manganese, found in ore deposits of low temperature, like the silver mines in Romania, where it was first mined. Banded Rhodochrosite is mined in Argentina, Catamarca and Capillitas. One old Incan mine containing silver has provided exceptionally good samples of very beautiful Rhodochrosite. Cross-sections of these crystals disclose light bands that are concentric and show layers in dark rose color. This variety is used for ornamental applications. Its first description came from Cavnic town in Maramureş (now Romania) during 1813.
Its perfect cleavage and softness do not make it worthwhile for making jewelry.
Rhodochrosite mineral in rose color is extremely beautiful. In fact, it possesses a unique color and is valued for that. Though it is a manganese ore, its ornate display characteristics add to its popularity as a mineral. You get its individual crystals in well defined shapes of rhombohedrons and quite rarely as scalahedrons. Its larger crystals with white and pink bands are very good-looking and often used in making semi-precious jewelry. Rhodochrosite is frequently carved into figurines and its tubular stalactitic forms are cut into circles, having concentric bands which are really inimitable among minerals.
It varies from pink to red, at times, yellow, almost white and brown.