RHODOCHROSITE is a sought-after, colorful mineral. Earlier considered as gangue or waste rock to be removed to get at the valuable ore, rhodochrosite was thrown aside and buried in districts such as Leadville, Colorado. Its lower quality ore is sometimes processed for its manganese content in places such as Argentina.
Most noticeable features are its rose-watermelon color in its purest form, its relatively soft(H=3) hardness, and its solubility in dilute acids.
In many areas including Colorado and Peru, rhodochrosite is found as rhombohedrons in crystalline form, associated with numerous other minerals, such as pyrite, quartz, tetrahedrite and fluorite. Argentinian rhodochrosite is better know for its banding, stalactitic forms, and its great beauty when cut, carved and polished. Lesser quality material can be paler red or even reddish tan in color.
Chemistry: Manganese Carbonate (MnCO3) ♦ Class: Carbonates ♦ Group: Calcite Group ♦ Crystal system: Trigonal ♦ Moh's hardness: 3.5 - 4 ♦ Transparency: Transparent to translucent ♦ Luster: Vitreous to resinous ♦ Color: Red to pink, sometimes almost white, yellow and brown ♦ Cleavage: Perfect in three directions forming rhombohedrons ♦ Fracture: Uneven ♦ Other characteristics: Pink and white banding in massive forms ♦ Localities: Sweet Home Mine American Tunnel mines, Colorado; Montana; New Jersey; Arizona and California, USA. Also found in Argentina, Peru, Kazakhstan; Romania; England; Germany; Namibia; Mexico; South Africa; Canada and many other localities from around the world.