Rhodochrosite is a manganese carbonate mineral. In its rare pure form, it is typically a rose-red color, but impure specimens can be shades of pink to pale brown. Rhodochrosite occurs as a hydrothermal vein mineral along with other manganese minerals in low temperature ore deposits as in the silver mines of Romania where it was first found.
Banded Rhodochrosite is mined in Capillitas, Argentina. Catamarca, Argentina has an old Inca silver mine that has produced fine stalactite examples of Rhodochrosite that are unique and very attractive. Cut cross-sections reveal concentric bands of light and dark rose colored layers. These specimens are carved and used for many ornamental purposes.
The pink color of Rhodochrosite is created by the element manganese. Rhodochrosite is formed when manganese which is dissolved by ground water combines with a carbonate mineral and then drips into deep underground crevices and fissures. Rhodochrosite may be found in Argentina, Peru, Colorado, Montana, Romania and Quebec, Canada.
It is commonly found in the form of stalactites and stalagmites in the caves of Argentina. Rhodochrosite (whose name means rose-colored) often forms pink and white bands. It is often carved into figurines or display specimens while the tubular stalactite formations are often slabed for making cabochons for use in jewelry. Fine gem quality crystals are sometimes faceted as gemstones for use in high end jewelry, but the more common grade is used extensively in silver and gold jewelry, and is very popular for wire wrap applications.
Rhodonite, another pinkish stone, may be confused with Rhodochrosite because the pink color is similar, but the difference is that rhodonite contains black manganese oxide patterns while Rhodochrosite is normally banded with white and pink.
Rhodochrosite became the official state mineral for Colorado in 2002 after the Platte Canyon High School in Bailey,Colorado made the proposal based on the fact that the Sweet Home Mine near Alma, Colorado produces the highly prized and rare red crystals which are found only in a few places on earth.
Rose Pink Rhodochrosite on Matrix from Sweet Home Mine
Medium Cabinet "Sweet Home Mine" Rhodochrosite Specimen!
This is a beautiful medium cabinet specimen of Rhodochrosite with quartz and Chalcopyrite from the Sweet Home Mine (famous for its Rhodochrosite), Mount Bross, Alma District, Park County, Colorado. The mine is now closed and has been reclaimed. Rhodochrosite is a manganese carbonate. Its name means rose-colored and it is a very attractive mineral with an absolutely one-of-a-kind, beautiful color. Although it is an ore of manganese, its ornamental and display specimen qualities are what make it a very popular mineral.
It measures 2.7 x 2.5 x 1.7 inches (6.9 x 6.5 x 4.3cm) and weighs 10.4 oz or 0.65 lb (296g). The end mass surface area measures 1.8 x 1.6 inches (4.8 x 4.1cm). This will make a great addition to your collection.
Rhodochrosite on Matrix from Monarch Mine
Rhodochrosite Specimen on Matrix from Monarch Mine, Colorado
This is a beautiful pink specimen of Rhodochrosite with Quartz and Galena from the Monarch Mine (Mountain Monarch Mine), Ouray District (Uncompahgre District), Ouray County, Colorado. We procured this specimen from a mineral dealer in Quartzsite Arizona in 2009. This specimen has been in our collection for the last six years.
It measures 2.3 x 1.8 x 1.4 inches (6 x 4.6 x 3.6cm) and weighs 3.3 oz (94g). This will make a great addition to your collection.
Rhodochrosite from Travona and Emma Mines, Butte, Montana
Butte, Montana has a very old and interesting mining history. The Travona is a mine located in Silver Bow county, Butte District, Montana at an elevation of 5,551 feet. It is in the Rocky Mountain System in the Northern Rocky Mountains. The Travona began Zinc, Manganese, silver and lead mining operations in 1917.
The site of the first silver strike in Butte was originally named the Asteroid by Willam Farlin in 1874. Farlin further developed the mine operations with a $30,000 loan from W.A. Clark's Deerloge bank to build the Dexter Mill. Farlin eventually defaulted on the loan giving Clark his first Butte property. Clark later became one of the three Butte "Copper Kings". The mine name is commonly misspelled "Travonia" by Butte residents. Trevonia is now the official name of the street which runs adjacent the mine yard. The head frame of the Travona Mine can still be seen from Travonia street.
Ore materials that were mined here include Gold, Rhodochrosite, Manganese, Galena, Sphalerite and Chalcopyrite.The Travona Mine ultimately came to be owned by the Anaconda Company (ACM). The Anaconda headframe was moved to the Travona from the Pennsylvania Mine in 1940, when the southwestern part of the Butte district began to be actively exploited for manganese for the second time, after an initial manganese boom in the 1910s. The Emma Mine was also a Manganese mine that operated from 1934 to 1957. It was closed in 1959. Eventually every mine in Butte came under the ownership of the Butte Copper Kings.
Specimens from either of these two mines are highly sought after by collectors and are a must for any serious collection. Specimens listed blow were collected in the 1940's by S.R. Steinhauser who worked for the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) core drilling and searching for minerals with uranium content. During his work trips he collected rocks and minerals for his own collection. He marked his specimens by painting a small white space upon which he painted in black his specimen information. We were able to procure several specimens from his collection. All were from the Travona Mine except for a single one from the Emma Mine.
Some of the specimens only had the white block painted, but all had locale identified on the boxes they were stored in. Mr. Steinhauser in his later years became a Lepidopterist (a person who studies or collects butterflies and moths) and published an abstract "Five New Species of Dalla from Colombia and Ecuador (Hesperiidae)" in the Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society 56(2), 2002, 53-61.During all his travels he continued to collect rock and mineral specimens. We were lucky to obtain some of his pieces.
In the 1950s there were many Rhodochrosite specimens from Butte, Montana on the market, but they are notably scarce these days. They were probably the most recognized Rhodochrosite from the Western United States until mines like the Sweet Home in Colorado started producing new specimens. This is a great old time classic and any Rhodochrosite collection or US mineral collection isn't complete without a Rhodochrosite specimen from Butte.
Rhodochrosite Thick Cut Slab from the Travona Mine
Rhodochrosite Thick Cut Slab from the Travona Mine, Butte, Montana
This is a beautiful thick cut slab of Classic Rhodochrosite. It was collected in the late 1940's. It has the white label block, but no detailed information painted on the specimen. It was in a box marked "Travona Mine Butte Montana" This piece is ex: S.R. Steinhauser collection
It measures 6.1 x 2.4 x 0.55 inches (15.6 x 6.3 x 1.4cm) and weighs 11.1 oz or 0.69 lb (315g). (pictures taken dry, specimen is NOT polished) This will make a great addition to your collection.
Quartz and Sphalerite on Rhodochrosite Blades from the Travona Mine
Very Rare Large Cabinet Quartz and Sphalerite on Rhodochrosite from the Travona Mine, Butte, Montana
This is a stunning specimen of well formed Quartz crystals and Sphalerite on light pink Rhodochrosite blade crystals. It was collected in the late 1940's. It is clearly marked "Rhodochrosite, Quartz and Sphalerite from the Travona Mine in Butte, Montana ex: S.R. Steinhauser collection
It measures 6.8 x 5.9 x 2.8 inches (17.3 x 15.1 x 7.3cm) and weighs 80.2 oz or 5 lb (2.274kg).
This will make a great addition to your collection.
Large Cabinet Rhodochrosite from the Travona Mine
Very Rare Large Cabinet Rhodochrosite from the Travona Mine, Butte, Montana
This is a strikingly awesome specimen of Rhodochrosite. It was collected in the late 1940's. It is clearly marked "Rhodochrosite Travona Mine Butte, Montana ex: S.R.S. (S.R. Steinhauser) collection. There are many "Gemmy" areas on this one.
It measures 8.1 x 6.4 x 2.1 inches (20 x 16.2 x 5.4cm) and weighs 102.5 oz or 6.4 lb (2.9kg).
This will make a great addition to your collection.