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Rhodochrosite vs Rhodonite: Similarities & Differences

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Rhodochrosite vs Rhodonite: Similarities & Differences
We often get questions about the differences between stones because of their similar appearance, names, or localities. Rhodonite and Rhodochrosite are two stones that people often ponder. With similar names and colors, is there any connection? Let's explore to learn more.

Latin Roots: 'Rhodo' and 'ite'

Sometimes looking at the Latin roots of words can tell us a lot about what they mean. For example, Rhodonite and Rhodochrosite both start with 'Rhodo' and end with 'ite,' which are both Latin root words describing the stones in terms of their color and material.

'Rhodo' and 'Rhod' are the Latin root words for rose or rose-colored. So not only do we see this Latin prefix in the stone names, but we also see it in the name Rhododendron, a flower with a beautiful pink color that we are all familiar with.

'Ite' is another word segment suffix that is very common in the mineral world, and as it should be! Because 'ite' is the Latin root word for rock or stone.

From this, it's apparent how Rhodonite and Rhodochrosite got their names. 'Rhodo' meaning pink-colored, and 'ite' meaning stone.

Composition

While Rhodochrosite and Rhodonite have similar names and colors, they are entirely different in composition and mineral characteristics.

Rhodochrosite is a manganese carbonate mineral formed through precipitation and mineralization out of liquids in caved or fluid flow through cracks or faults in rocks. Its Mohs Hardness is less than 4, and it has a specific gravity of 3.7(meaning that it is about 40% heavier than quartz for a given volume of stone).

Rhodonite is a manganese silicate mineral formed when magma comes in contact with magnesium-rich sedimentary rocks. It has a Mohs Hardness of 5.5 - 6.5, and has a specific gravity of 3.6 (meaning that is about 40% heavier than quartz - similar to Rhodochrosite.)

Compositionally, Rhodochisite and Rhodonite both contain Manganese that lends to their pink color, and both have similar weights showing specific gravities of 3.6 - 3.7 grams/cm3.

Appearance

Rhodonite tends to be a neutral pink color and commonly contains a black matrix. On the other hand, Rhodochrosite is usually a bright and vibrant pink color, exuding some white ring-like features that result from its formation process.

Final Thought

While Rhodochrosite and Rhodonite have similar names and pink colors, they are compositionally, aesthetically, and characteristically very different. Rhodonite is a neutral pink, silicate mineral with a Mohs hardness of around 6, while Rhodochrosite is a vibrant pink carbonate mineral with a hardness of about 4.

Both are beautiful stones for creating handmade jewelry. Be sure to check our Rhodocrosite and Rhodonite stone bead collections if you're seeking to create handmade jewelry.

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