Rhodonite is a manganese silicate that forms lovely transparent to translucent pinkish-red crystals. However, the transparent crystals are rare. Rhodonite is more commonly found in a massive aggregate form that is opaque. Black manganese oxides frequently form along with rhodonite and result in black specks or veins in the cut and polished aggregate material.
As far as is known, rhodonite is not synthesized. However, any whitish and slightly porous mineral can be dyed pinkish-red and sold as rhodonite. Knowledgeable testing should always spot faking.
Historically, most of the aggregate rhodonite used for ornamental purposes was mined in Russia in the Ural mountains. These days, it comes mainly from Tanzania.
Image courtesy of irocks.com.
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