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Rhodonite Properties, Facts and Photos

oval shaped polished rhodonite stone in a museum display cabinet

1. Rhodonite Meaning and Properties
2. Rhodonite vs Rhodochrosite
3. Healing Properties of Rhodonite
4. Article Pictures
5. Shop for Rhodonite

Rhodonite Meaning and Properties

Rhodonite is a naturally occurring manganese mineral that ranges in colour from the lightest pink to crimson.

Stones often feature distinctive inclusions of manganese oxides.  These can occur as dendrites which are crystals with a branching form.  They often resemble organic matter.  The word 'dendrite' comes from the Greek 'dendron' meaning 'tree'.

They can also occur as veins, fracture fillings or even as part of the matrix.  Matrix is the host rock or material in which the mineral formed.

The  black markings form through oxidation which causes the reddish-pink rhodonite crystals to darken.

Rhodonite forms primarily in metamorphic rocks.  Once the pinkish-red crystals have formed, exposure to oxygen can cause them to oxidise.

This tends to be because of the presence of manganese.

During the oxidation process manganese minerals within the stone react with oxygen. This produces manganese oxide minerals which tend to be black.

An oxide is a chemical compound that contains at least one oxygen atom and one other element in its chemical composition.

Over time a crust or coating of manganese oxides occurs on the surface of the crystals. The crust can vary in thickness as it grows. It can also form intricate patterns such as dendrites or veins.

Manganese minerals and manganese oxide minerals describes different chemical compounds both of which contain manganese.

Manganese minerals contain manganese as their essential component. They can have various chemical compositions and crystal structures.  An example of a manganese mineral is rhodonite.  Rhodochrosite is also a manganese mineral.

Manganese oxide minerals refer to minerals where manganese is combined with oxygen. Virtually no other chemical element is present. Manganese oxide minerals can also have different compositions and structures.

Pure rhodonite crystals that have not been oxidised can be found but are very rare.

This is the reason why most rhodonite especially stones used for cutting and polishing feature distinctive black markings. They're the primary reason why no two rhodonite stones will ever be the same.

Rhodonite usually crystallises in masses meaning crystals grow as one large tightly intergrown mass.

Rhodonite is considered to be a relatively rare mineral but can be found in many locations around the world.

cherry red coloured gemmy rhodonite crystal

Rhodonite was discovered in 1790 in the Ural Mountains.  It was named in 1819 by German naturalist Christoph Friedrich Jasche.  The name comes from the Greek word 'rhodon' meaning 'rose' because of its colour.

When used as a gemstone rhodonite is rarely faceted because it's extremely difficult to cut.  

Rhodonite can be found in the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, India, Madagascar, South America, New Zealand and Tanzania.

Although first discovered in the 17th century it became popular in Russia about one hundred years later.  It was then used primarily for architectural and ornamental purposes.

Large rhodonite mineral on display in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

Rhodonite vs Rhodochrosite

The confusion between rhodonite and rhodochrosite comes about primarily because of the similarity of the two names.  The name rhodochrosite comes from the Greek 'rhodon' meaning 'rose' and 'chroma' meaning 'colour'.  'Rhodonite' also comes from the Greek word 'rhodon' in reference to its colour.

Although crystals in both minerals do occur they're extremely rare.  Rhodonite and rhodochrosite occur more often in masses.  In this habit crystals grow as one large tightly intergrown mass.  Rhodonite is the rarer mineral of the two.

The most significant difference between rhodonite and rhodochrosite is hardness.  On Mohs scale of mineral hardness rhodonite grades 5.5 to 6.5.  Rhodochrosite grades 3.5 to 4 so it's much softer and a more delicate stone.

The vast majority of rhodonite and rhodochrosite occur in massive form so it's really quite easy to tell one from the other.  Rhodonite is often associated with manganese oxides (black markings) whilst rhodochrosite tends to be characterised with white streaks of calcite or concentric bands.

Healing Properties of Rhodonite

The healing properties of most pink crystals relate to love, compassion and healing of the heart.

Rhodonite is a stone to carry if you want to make yourself heard.  It improves communication and facilitates mutual understanding.

The healing properties of rhodonite are particularly beneficial for those going through a significant change in life.  This is even more relevant when the situation is not of your choosing.

Rhodonite dispels negative states of mind, confusion and anxiety.  It promotes feelings of wellbeing and raises optimism.

Associated with the heart chakra it activates love energies, eases tension and stimulates and heals the heart.  It balances emotions, nurtures love and can help with emotional healing.

Rhodonite can help those who regularly deal with upsetting or difficult situations.

It promotes calmness and confidence and improves the ability to communicate in a loving and compassionate manner.

Article Pictures

The rhodonite picture at the top of our article is courtesy of Stan Celestian.

The stone in the second picture is on display in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C. Photo by Stone Mania. Both pictures are clickable and redirect to the original image.

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