Mineral Class: Carbonate
Crystal System: Hexagonal
Hardness: 3.5 - 4
Luster: Vitreous to pearly
Diaphaneity: Transparent to Translucent
Colors: Pink, Red, Yellow, Gray, Tan
Source: Argentina, Peru, Russia, Romania, South Africa, Uruguay, and USA
Rhodochrosite is a manganese carbonate mineral, and in its most rare form occurs as a rose-red color, while many lower grade specimens will occur as shades of pink or even pale browns. Calcium as well as magnesium and zinc, to a limited extent, frequently substitute for manganese in the structure leading to lighter shades of red and pink depending on the degree of substitution. For this reason, Rhodochrosite is most commonly found in pink.
It is often confused with the manganese silicate, Rhodonite, but is distinctly softer. 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. Rhodochrosite is Argentina's “national gemstone” and Colorado officially named Rhodochrosite as its state mineral in 2002.