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Encyclopaedia of stones

Rhodochrosite

Its name is derived from the Greek word rhodon, meaning "rose" and chroma, "colour" referring to its pink color. The crystals are transparent to translucent with a pearly luster. They are also pink to very bright red. This coloration is due to the presence of manganese in its composition (manganese carbonate).  See all jewels with rhodochrosite...

Colors
Pink-red-white

Family
Calcite group

Origin

Argentina, Peru, South Africa, USA (Colorado and Montana), Uruguay

Virtues

Rhodochrosite is a stone of love, balance and compassion. It is reputed to help develop inner freedom and resolve inner conflicts. Rhodochrosite is also said to be a good stone for relationships and matters of the heart. It is thought to have the power to attract love to its bearer, or yet, to allow a person who deals with deception to keep an open heart in life.

Specifications

The element manganese causes rhodochrosite to be pink. When it is dissolved by ground water and combines with a carbonate material, it drips off the ceilings of large caves and crevices deep underground, forming rhodochrosite crystals. As a result of the different layers formed in these drops, rhodochrosite is banded - often in concentric or zigzag patterns of alternating white and pink colours. The transparent red forms large enough to be cut into gemstones are very valuable, and cherished by gemstone connoisseurs.

History

The Incas thought that rhodochrosite was the blood of their ancestors that had been solidified.
This mineral would have been discovered in the 13th century, during the pre-Columbian history of Argentina. It is in the north-west of this country, formerly part of the Inca Empire, that the famous pink stone was discovered, in copper and silver mines, during the reign of the Inca Ripac. At the fall of this civilization, the mines were abandoned and the rhodochrosite fell into oblivion.
The mines were found much later, in the 18th century and the stone then reappears. It was described and renamed rhodochrosite in 1813 by Johann Friedrich Ludwig Hausmann (1782-1859), a German mineralogist and it is this description that has since been referred to.
In June 1934, Franz Mansfeld discovered pieces of rhodochrosite at the Museum of La Plata in Buenos Aires. In 1937, he discovered an Inca tomb containing jewelry rhodochrosite and then called the stone Rosa del Inca. Thanks to Mansfeld, rhodochrosite was known all over the world.
See all jewels with rhodochrosite
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