Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Gemstone of the Week is Rhodonite

The gemstone of the week this week is Rhodonite. This beautiful pink and sometimes red gemstone is well known among collectors. The red variety can often rival ruby in the intensity of color and is the most highly prized. This rare, classic type of Rhodonite was once found in Franklin, New Jersey. The name Rhodonite comes from the Greek word, rhodos, meaning “rose colored”. It is opaque and often called Pink Marble.
It is classed as a silicate mineral and is associated with black manganese minerals, pyrite and spessartine.

The chemical make up of Rhodonite is manganese iron magnesium calcium silicate.
Rhodonite often has impurities of black manganese veins running through it in crisscrossing lines. These are called dendrites. The black against the pink gives it a nice contrast. This is the most common kind used for beads and jewelry. It is a relatively inexpensive gemstone. Rhodonite is usually not enhanced in any way expect to sometimes wax it to bring out the shine. On the Moh scale it is 5.5-6 which makes it a rather soft stone to be used in rings and things that are easily knocked or banged up against things.
During the time of the Russian Czars, Rhodonite was used in many court decorations ranging from carved pillars, sculptures, tiles and bowls. It's fairly soft nature lends itself to carving.

Rhodnite has many sources of origin. The Ural Mountains in Russia, Japan, Australia, Italy,Madagascar, Peru, Brazil and Sweden are some. Two mines, one in New South Wales, Australia, and one in Brazil still produce fabulous blood red crystals. It used to be found in the western U. S., but most of those mines found in California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Idaho are now closed.

Rhodonite is associated with the throat of fifth chakra and is sometimes called the Singer's Stone and is said to improve sound sensitivity. It is considered to be a feminine stone, like the iron fist in the velvet glove. It is also believed to help with the nervous system, and self esteem and to balance trauma.It is also thought to help achieve potential and to dispel worry.

This Rhodonite Zuni bear with Rhodonite chips, is a necklace I made.

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