Rhodochrosite
description: <p style="text-align: justify;">LOCALITY: Hotazel Mine, Kuruman, Northern Cape Province, South Africa <br /><br />1 7/8" across <br /><br />The beautiful "dogtooth" crystals of this piece are in almost pristine condition, display the luster of polished glass and are gemmy. Almost all Hotazel rhodochrosite specimens show at least some damage since rhodochrosite is a soft mineral that displays perfect cleavage along three planes. Rhodochrosite specimens of this type were also excavated during the late 1970's and early 1980's from hard rock of an operating manganese mine and even the most trivial shock can lead to crystal terminations "popping off" during the efforts to remove fine specimens. <br /><br />Hotazel rhodochrosite is among the most prized of the collector minerals and demand will always outstrip supply. This is especially so since the it is improbable that other examples of this highly sought after species will ever be mined anywhere. Kuruman has not produced any rhodochrosite specimens of this color and habit since the early 1980's despite the fact production at the Kalahari mines continues to this day. Although other large manganese mines operate in many other countries of the world (including Brazil and Australia - at Iron Knob, South Australia), rhodochrosite specimens of the size, importance, esthetics and general quality of the Hotazel pieces have never been unearthed. <br /><br />Other pockets of rhodochrosite from Kuruman displayed an inferior color - a brownish red. The pictured specimen is a hot, fire engine red as it appears in the photo. It could be improved by removal of a detracting piece of "amorphous looking" rhodochrosite which is not evident in the photo. Despite this flaw, it is an esthetic piece. <br /><br />Also refer to the monograph in "Gem and Crystal Treasures" by Dr Peter Bancroft. This book is a "must have" for any specimen focused mineral collector. Dr Bancroft wrote about what he considered to be the top 100 mineral localities of the world and illustrated some of the finest known specimens from them. Since the book was published in the 1980's, many of Bancroft's "top 100" mineral, gem and crystal localities have since been exceeded. The Hotazel Mine of South Africa, unlike many of the other "top 100 localities" has withstood the test of time well.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"> </p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This piece was bought from Dr Ronnie McKenzie during a visit to his home in Pretoria, South Africa in late 2009.  It was sold to Wayne Thompson in late 2015.  It is now in a private collection.  </p>
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