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Appearance, Uses and History
The first thing to point out, really, should be to avoid confusing Rhodonite and Rhodochrosite. They are both Manganese based, pink minerals, and occasionally do look similar.
Rhodonite was once used as an ore of Manganese, but nowadays its only real use is as a lapidary material, or for mineral specimens.
In rare cases, it is faceted for jewellery usage.
Rhodonite often has black manganese oxide veins running through it, which often form criss cross lines and dendrites.
Rhodonite is found in a few pieces around the world, including Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, Peru, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Rhodonite is a pink mineral, but often associated with black Manganese oxides which fill fractures, or as matrix. This means some pieces of Rhodonite will purely be pink, and some will be a mixture of pink and black.
The pink and black specimens are sometimes referred to as ‘bustamite’.
In addition, there are also some almost red crystalline forms.
Photos of Rhodonite
Hazards and Warnings
Rhodonite contains Manganese, which is toxic, but the mineral itself should be considered low risk.
Almost all rocks, minerals (and, frankly, almost all other substances on earth) can produce toxic dust when cutting, which can cause serious respiratory conditions including silicosis.
When cutting or polishing rocks, minerals, shells, etc, all work should be done wet to minimise the dust, and a suitable respirator or extraction system should be used.
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Further Reading / External Links