Feature Gems & Gemology, Summer 1997, Vol. 33, No. 2

Gem Rhodochrosite from the Sweet Home Mine, Colorado

Massive banded rhodochrosite has long been used for carvings and other ornamental objects. Although intense red transparent rhodochrosite crystals of remarkable size have been known in Colorado since 1895, not until recently were mining techniques developed to recover them economically. These new mining techniques have combined state-of-the-art equipment and technology to detect and extract large, fine-quality rhodochrosite specimens and gem rough. Although rhodochrosite is a soft mineral, faceted rhodochrosite can be set into jewelry provided it receives special handling and consideration with respect to wear. Faceted rhodochrosite can be readily separated from possible imitations on the basis of standard gemological testing.