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One of nature's more exotic treasures, rhodochrosite is a manganese carbonate that gets its name from two Greek words: "rhodon," meaning rose and "chros," meaning color. A fitting name indeed as its finest colors range from very pale pink, pale to deep orangey red. Yellow to brown crystals are also known. Rhodochrosite comes in Trans parent, semi-translucent and opaque varieties. Semi-translucent to opaque rhodochrosite is often carved or cut en cabochon and typically displays "bacon strip" or "bull's eye" patterns.

Rhodochrosite Polished
Rhodochrosite Classification
Common Name Rhodochrosite
Species Rhodochrosite
Rhodochrosite Optical Properties
Transparency Translucent-Transparent
Dispersion Strength: Weak Fire Value: 0.015
Refractive Index Over The Limit 1.594-1.820 Tolerance: (+0.003/-0.003)
Birefringence 0.22
Optic Character Uniaxial
Optic Sign Negative
Polariscope Reaction Aggregate (AGG), Doubly Refractive (DR)
Fluorescence SWUV: Inert to weak red
LWUV: Inert to moderate red
CCF Reaction None
Pleochroism Dichroic, moderate to strong red to yellowish orange and orangy pink to brownish red
Rhodochrosite Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 3.5-4
Streak White
Specific Gravity 3.400-3.710
Toughness Poor
Inclusions Rhodochrosite typically has many liquid and 2-phase inclusions.
Luster Vitreous, Pearly, Subvitreous
Fracture Uneven, conchoidal
Cleavage Perfect, in one direction
Rhodochrosite Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name manganese carbonate
Chemical Formula MnCO3
Crystal System Trigonal
Chemistry Classification Carbonate

Rhodochrosite Colors

  • Pink Rhodochrosite Pink
  • Red Rhodochrosite Red
  • Orange Rhodochrosite Orange
  • Multi-color Rhodochrosite Multi-color

Rhodochrosite Spectra

Jewelry Television acknowledges the significant scientific contributions of John S Harris, FGA to the study of gemstone spectra and with deep appreciation to him, acknowledges the use of his images and related notes about gemstones and their spectra in the educational materials on this website.

Alternate Names

Rosinca, Inca Rose

Countries of Origin

Tanzania, United Republic Of; Argentina; Romania; United States of America (the); Thailand; India; Unknown; China; Brazil; Mexico; South Africa; Peru; Germany; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the)


Rhodochrosite is very soft, so be mindful of scratching or chipping. Soluble in hydrochloric acid. Requires gentle handling.

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Rhodochrosite (single crystal)

Clean, transparent, facetable material and mineral specimens are extremely rare and highly sought after by gem collectors. Faceting such crystals presents a challenge to cutters due to the gem's perfect cleavage in three directions. Two of the best know sources of translucent material come from N’Chwaning, South Africa and the Sweet Home Mine in Alma, Colorado, but it can also be found several African country’s Germany, southern Mexico, Peru, and Romania.

Rhodochrosite (single crystal) Rhodochrosite
Rhodochrosite (single crystal) Classification
Common Name Rhodochrosite (single crystal)
Rhodochrosite (single crystal) Optical Properties
CCF Reaction None
Rhodochrosite (single crystal) Characteristic Physical properties
Specific Gravity 3.40
Toughness Poor
Inclusions Rhodochrosite typically has many liquid and 2-phase inclusions.
Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.