Rhodochrosite was named in 1800, its name derives from the Greek rhodokhros, meaning “of rosy color.” It is a manganese carbonate found in hydrothermal ore veins formed at moderate temperatures, in high-temperature metamorphic deposits, and as a secondary mineral in sedimentary manganese deposits.
Gem-quality transparent rhodochrosite crystals have a bright pink color. They occur in several mines in Colorado and in Hotazel, South Africa. . The transparent stones are usually faceted and in demand by collectors. Rhodochrosite is both soft and very fragile. Crystals can be cut as gems, and the banded rock is very attractive when polished. The type of rhodochrosite known as Inca Rose comes from the oldest mines in Argentina, where it has formed in stalagmites in the silver mines of the Incas since they were abandoned in the 13th century.
Rhodochrosite is found in Freiburg (Germany), Las Cabesses (France), Pasto Bueno (Peru), Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Romania, Russia, Japan, and in the United States where it is found in the Sweet Home Mine in Colorado and in Butte, Montana where it is so abundant that it is mined as an ore of manganese.
Rhodochrosite is usually confused with fire opal, rhodonite, tugtupite, tourmaline, and bustamite