a remarkable Rhodochrosite from the Julia Fiske Mine, near Leadville, Colorado

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Rhodochrosite has a hardness of 3½ – 4 and a specific gravity of 3.7. It’s Colorado’s State Mineral, and was named in 1813 by Johann Friedrich Ludwig Hausmann from the Greek ρόδο, “rose”, and χρώς, “coloring”, referring to its color.

It commonly occurs as a primary gangue mineral in moderate- to low-temperature hydrothermal veins, also in high-temperature metasomatic deposits and sedimentary manganese deposits or as a late stage hydrothermal mineral in pegmatites, especially lithiophilite-bearing ones, and it can also be formed as a biomineral by some fungi during oxidation.

It’s found in thousands of locations around the world, but rarely can you find more incredible specimens than those found in Colorado, and most notably, from the Sweet Home Mine near Leadville, not too far from the Julia Fiske Mine!

There’s not a lot of information on the mine itself, but it did produce Arsenopyrite, Aurichalcite, Calcite, Chalcopyrite, Galena, Pyrite, Quartz, Siderite, var. Manganese-bearing Siderite, and Sphalerite in addition to the Rhodochrosite.

While Mindat lists that Fe, Ca, Mg, Zn, Co & Cd are often found as impurities within Rhodochrosite, WebMineral analyzed a specimen and found it to contain roughly 48% Manganese, 42% Oxygen, and 10% Carbon. It’s a prettier specimen for Manganese than Manganite, so it’d be a great representation of the element for element collectors, but this special rock is probably waiting to come home with a Rhodochrosite lover or Colorado rock collector.

Needless to say, as Rhodochrosite is such a cool and valuable mineral, be sure to keep your eyes out for a pink rock like this!


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