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Rhodocrosite is a much sought after mineral that is often found in silver mines. Pure specimens have a beautiful rose red or pink color, but even with black and white inclusions, these gemstone beads are very striking. This is the state gemstone of Colorado and the national gemstone of Argentina. Rhodocrosite Beads are used by healers to strengthen the circulatory system.
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The chemical composition of rhodocrosite is MnCO3, or manganese carbonate. It is rarely found in pure form, but when it is, it is a beautiful, deep, red color, although shades of pink with white and black streaks are the most common. Rhodocrosite is sometimes confused with rhodonite, which is manganese silicate, but rhodocrosite has a score of 3 - 4 on Moh’s Scale and is softer than rhodonite.
Rhodocrosite beads come mainly from Romania and Argentina. The mineral was first described in 1813 in Romania, and its name comes from a Greek word meaning “rose-colored.” Rhodocrosite is also known as Inca Rose because of the major deposits found in Argentina where it is the national gemstone. Legend has is that the stone is made from the blood of former Inca rulers.
It is often found in the same area as silver ore, and until its value was recognized it was commonly discarded during silver mining. Large stalactites and stalagmites of rhodocrosite have been found in the silver mines worked by the Incas during the 13th century. The biggest pieces of Rhodocrosite have been found at the Sweet Home Mine near Alma, Colorado. The world’s largest specimens, the Alma King and Alma Rose, are particularly striking deep red stones.
In addition to rhodocrosite jewelry, this gemstone is used to make beautiful carvings and cabochons. The different colors of red and pink form bands with white and black striations, and this creates dramatic patterns in large pieces. It is a popular mineral for architectural decorations.
Healers who work with minerals and crystals consider rhodocrosite beads to be especially useful for problems of the circulatory system involving the heart and blood vessels, as well as the kidneys and reproductive organs. It is a powerful emotional healer and helps to promote feelings of comfort, compassion and love. Wearing rhodocrosite jewelry is said to clarify and strengthen intuition and to spark creativity.
The beautiful rose, white and black striations of rhodocrosite beads look especially striking when strung next to dark black stones, such as onyx or black spinel. These opaque, earthy beads would also work well with other multicolored gemstones, for instance African opals or different types of agates. Because of the interesting formations found in rhodocrosite, it is useful for cabochons, pendants and focus pieces.
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