HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Rhodonite, pronounced ROW-duh-nite, was first described in 1783 and named in 1819. Its name stems from the Greek rhodon, or “rose,” referring to the mineral’s reddish color. Rhodonite is collected in Peru, Brazil, Russia, Australia, Canada, Bolivia, Mexico, Japan, South Africa, Namibia, and the United States (Massachusetts, Colorado, Montana, Michigan, Vermont, California).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Rhodonite [calcium manganese silicate, CaMn4Si5O15] crystallizes in the triclinic system, usually in compact or massive forms or as granular aggregates; crystals are rare. It has a Mohs hardness of 5.5-6.5, a vitreous luster, good cleavage in two directions, a subconchoidal–to-uneven fracture, and a specific gravity of 3.5-3.7. It is usually translucent and occasionally transparent or opaque. Its colors range from brownish-red and pinkish-red to pink; massive forms often exhibit black veining. Rhodonite forms in manganese-rich, metamorphic deposits and in hydrothermal replacement deposits.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: Rhodonite is a popular gemstone and decorative stone that is fashioned into cabochons and a many types of ornamental objects. Transparent rhodonite crystals, which are rare, are occasionally faceted into collector’s gems. Rhodonite has also sometimes served as a minor ore of manganese. Metaphysical practitioners believe that rhodonite strengthens and builds self-confidence, enables wearers to assess and respond to chaotic situations, and aids in physical and emotional healings after traumatic accidents or events.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Rhodonite crystals are highly valued for their color, rarity, and often unusual mineralogical associations.