When we mention garnet, most of us imagine a deep red gemstone. But surprisingly, it comes in a variety of species and blends; which means it is available in an assortment of stunning hues. Rhodolite happens to be its purple-red variety.
It is believed to have been first discovered at the turn of the 19th century in North Carolina, the USA, and its composition is closely related to pyrope and almandine garnet. In terms of appearance, however, rhodolite may look more like the tourmaline or spinel.
Besides its sensuous hue, this gem is admired for its eye-catching sparkle that comes alive, especially in artificial light. This visually attractive jewel is mined in different parts of the world, with India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, and Brazil being common sources. The Umba River Valley in Tanzania, however, is known for being home to some of the best quality rhodolite gemstones in the world.
It’s easy to associate the dark purplish-red color of the rhodolite with love and passion. Garnet, in general, has always been considered the gem of heart, blood, and fire. Rhodolite, on the other hand, has a slightly more sensuous appeal to it.
While references related to ancient symbolism of garnet can be found in abundance, the same is not the case when it comes to the rhodolite. In the present time, however, this gem is popular in crystal therapy and is used for emotional healing and to balance the flow of energies in the body. Rhodolite is also touted as a lucky talisman that protects from harm and negativity.
Hardness & Strength
The Mohs scale was developed to measure the hardness of a mineral and give it a subsequent rating from 1 to 10. While 1 represents extreme malleability, 10 indicates exceptional hardness. Rhodolite has a rating of 7-7.5, which means it is quite durable. You can consider wearing this gem in a variety of jewelry and different settings. As with any gemstone, however, it must be treated with love and care.
Read our section on care instructions to know more.
The intense hue of this gem is completely natural. The majority of the rhodolite stones available in the market do not require any kind of artificial enhancements or treatments. It is possible to come across ‘synthetic rhodolites’, which are essentially just lookalikes. To ensure you’re buying real and natural rhodolites, make the purchase only from a reputed brand and always check for the Certificate of Authenticity.
Quality and Grading
High-quality rhodolites typically showcase a rose-pink hue with hints of deep purple. Stones with intense rose-red undertones are considered highly desirable. Color saturation is important when it comes to picking rhodolites. Pick the one that looks vivid and keep an eye out for brilliant raspberry-red color, as those stones are most sought-after.
It’s normal for garnet and its varieties, including the rhodolite, to have flaws/inclusions. Since this is a type 2 gemstone, needle-like rutile inclusions and apatite crystal impurities are normal. However, rhodolites are blessed with good saturation and deep color, so most flaws are not visible. Strictly avoid stones that have inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye.
Rhodolite is available in a variety of shapes, with oval, pear, and round being the most common options. You can also find this gem in the form of cabochons. Well-faceted rhodolites exude maximum brilliance. So pick a stone that looks radiant and showcases a clean cut when viewed from all angles, especially from the top.
It’s easy to find this gem is different carat weights, with 1 and 2 carats being popular options. The price of the stone does increase considerably once it crosses the 1-carat mark. However, when picking this gem, it’s important to prioritize the quality. An heirloom grade rhodolite in lesser carat weight will always be a better option than a substandard gem that has a higher carat weight.
Unlike diamonds, there is no standard grading system for this gem. However, based on different physical attributes, rhodolites can be graded into the following categories.
In terms of quality, these are the best you can get your hands on. They exhibit a vivid purplish hue and exceptional brilliance. Rhodolites belonging to this category are absolutely eye-clean.
These rhodolites are high on brilliance and radiate a medium purplish-red hue. They also do not have any eye-visible inclusions.
This category features rhodolites that have a medium to dark reddish-purple color. They showcase moderate brilliance and have slight inclusions.
These rhodolites are low on brilliance and showcase a dark reddish-purple color. Stones belonging to this category also have moderate inclusions.
The rhodolite is a unique-looking gem that’s sure to effortlessly grab attention. The fact that it’s a considerably durable stone makes it perfect for everyday wear. To maintain its beauty and shine, keep the following easy tips in mind.
- Steam and ultrasonic cleaning is not recommended. Although this gem is not delicate, these methods may end up causing internal fractures as they involve the use of vibration and heat.
- High heat, in any other form, must also be avoided under all circumstances as the small inclusions present in this gem may turn into deeper cracks. Also, protect this stone from sudden temperature changes.
- To maintain the shine and quality of this gem, keep it away from all sorts of harsh chemicals, including hairsprays, perfumes, body lotion, etc.
- Regular usage may lead to dullness over a period of time. So do look out for any areas of concern, including a loose setting or surface chips. If you do spot one, immediately head to a professional jeweler to get it fixed.
- As a rule of thumb, store all your gemstones separately to protect them from getting scratched by other harder jewels, like a sapphire or diamond.