The name of the mineral is derived from Greek rhodon – “rose” and chroma – “color” or rhodokhros – “rose colored”.
Rhodochrosite is a manganese carbonate belonging to the calcite group along with isomorphous calcite, magnesite, otavite, smithsonite, etc. The mineral crystallizes in trigonal crystal system and forms well-shaped rhomboedral or scalenohedral crystals. It can be found also in agregates or in the form of stalactites/stalagmites. The color depends mostly on the purity of the sample. Red color is observed for pure samples. With higher impurities content color changes to pink. The mineral occurance is associated with low temperature ore deposits (e.g. silver deposits). It is formed in hydrothermal veins where it slowly precipitates from the solution. Astonishing specimens come from Sweet Home Mine, Colorado (the specimen shown below is valued at 300-400$). The biggest crystal of rhodochrosite was found there in 1992 measuring 15 cm (valued at 1,000,000 $). The specimen is called “Alma king” and is exposed in Denver Museum of Natural History. Other world localities include Argentina, Romania (described for the first time in 1813), Japan, Russia and Peru. The most of the production is used for jewerly. Low price pieces serve as a source of manganese for alloys.