Rhodonite is a beautiful crystal, often used for decoration, jewelry, and even sometimes for metaphysical practices.
It has a vibrant pink hue marbled with black and other shades of pink and red; in fact, it is called rhodonite because of the Greek word for ‘rose’.
However, crystals and stones are not immune to forgery, so it’s important to be able to tell the difference between a falsified stone and the real thing.
Here are a few tips to help you discern a real rhodonite stone from a fake.
How to Tell if Rhodonite is Real
First Of All, What Is Rhodonite?
Rhodonite, scientifically, is a manganese silicate mineral.
It’s a rare mineral found in manganese ores in few parts of the world, including the Ural mountains in Russia, Brazil, Argentina, and a few states in the U.S.; in fact, it is Massachusetts’s state gem.
The chemical composition is SiO3 and contains iron, calcium, and magnesium.
Because of its rarity, it is usually somewhat expensive, its value rising with its transparency.
It is used mostly for ornamental purposes, usually in the form of small statues and tumbled stones.
It is rarely used in jewelry because of its rather fragile nature, but rhodonite earrings and pendants can sometimes be found.
How To Identify Rhodonite
Since this stone is so highly sought-after, it is important to be able to recognize it.
These are some of the easiest and best ways to ensure that you’ve found a true rhodonite stone.
Identify the Color
The first thing you should do is to take a good look at it.
The main color should be a strong pinkish-red, almost the hue and vibrancy of raspberries.
This color should vary along the stone; if it’s natural, the color will not be perfectly consistent.
Black streaks are produced by the manganese oxide present, so if it does not contain black dappling, chances are that it may be something else.
If the stone is raw, the colors will be duller, but if it’s polished, the colors should be relatively vibrant.
However, trust your senses and know that if the color is a little too vibrant, it may have been subjected to dyes.
Identify the Luster
Luster, in the context of stones, refers to how much light they reflect.
For rhodonite, the luster tends to vary.
For stones that are more opaque, the luster is lower, and, therefore, less valuable.
Rhodonite stones that are more transparent, on the other hand, have a much greater luster, and are considered more valuable than their more opaque counterparts.
Identify the Clarity
The clarity of stones refers to inclusions.
As stated above, inclusions in rhodonite are expected.
In most stones, inclusions reduce the value, but with rhodonite, the black root-like streaks actually increase the appeal.
They create beautiful, swirling patterns that contribute to the unique aesthetics of the stone.
If you find a piece of rhodonite that is lacking inclusions, this should let you know that the stone may not, in fact, be authentic.
Identify the MOHS Hardness
Despite the complicated-sounding name, this is a simple test that does not require fancy tools; a sharp piece of quartz crystal and a regular steel kitchen knife will do the trick.
MOHS Hardness refers to how easy it is to scratch a stone.
If it is scratched with something lower on the scale, then it won’t leave a mark.
But, if it is scratched by something higher up on the scale, it will.
Rhodonite has MOHS Hardness of 5.5 – 6.5, meaning that it is fairly fragile.
Household dust contains quartz, which has a hardness of 7, so it can actually scratch rhodonite.
Take your steel kitchen knife and attempt to make a scratch.
Since rhodonite is higher up on the MOHS hardness scale, the steel should not be able to scratch it.
Then, using the piece of quartz, attempt to scratch the surface of your piece of rhodonite.
If the quartz is able to produce a scratch, that means that your rhodonite is softer than the quartz.
So, if your rhodonite is not scratched by the steel but scratched by the quartz, there’s a good chance that your stone is genuine.
Identify the Cleavage
Stone cleavage refers to how cleanly the stone breaks.
Rhodonite has perfect cleavage; when it is broken, it leaves a completely smooth surface.
Stones with good cleavage leave a very small amount of residual roughness, but rhodonite’s perfect cleavage will be completely flat and sleek.
Identify the Crystal Formation
If you are able to find rhodonite in it’s raw crystal form, it is important to be able to discern the crystal formation.
While crystals like quartz tend to have larger crystalline spears, rhodonite is a crystal that has a dendritic formation, meaning that it has tiny crystalline structures, branching out like a tree.
This is the shape in which it is the most lustrous and sparkly.
So, if a stone has larger, more substantial crystals, it might be masquerading as rhodonite.
It’s the tiny, sparkly crystals you want to look out for.
Although rhodonite is its own distinct crystal, it can be somewhat easy to confuse it with another stone.
Pink gemstones are common, so be careful of imposters.
Pink fluorite, jasper, and cobaltoan calcite are all similarly colored, but do not contain the black banding.
Eudialyte contains both pink and black, but it is discernible by its drastically different crystalline structure.
Rhodochrosite differs in that it contains white streaks instead of black.
Pink agate might be the most commonly confused stone with rhodonite.
It has the same bright pink color and often contains black banding; however, it is a heavier and higher up on the MOHS scale.
Remember, it’s important to be able to recognize your stone
Rhodonite can be very valuable, so you want to be able to identify it when buying or selling.
You also want to be sure to understand how to properly care for your stone.
For instance, you don’t want to clean it by dousing it in water, because water can dissolve the stone; instead, you want to gently polish it using a soft cloth.
You want to be sure to not let it near anything that might scratch it, and keep it away from heat so as not to damage it.
Rhodonite is a beautiful gemstone.
Recognizing it can be tricky, but these tips will help you find a very special rhodonite stone to add to your collection.
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