Ranging in color from pink to a fine rose red, rhodonite is a popular material for jewelry and decorative objects. Faceted rhodonite has an intense, beautiful color, but this material has a reputation as one of the most difficult gemstones to cut.
Perfect cleavage makes transparent, facetable rhodonite quite delicate. Thus, faceted stones are rare. However, gem carvers commonly make cabochons, beads, goblets, figurines, and other objects from massive, opaque material with attractive black dendritic, “tree-like,” veins.
Faceted gems and carved objects require careful handling, because their cleavage puts them at risk of fracturing. Due to rhodonite’s relatively low hardness, use protective settings for any jewelry stones to avoid damage from scratching and accidental blows.
The best material from British Columbia has a translucent, deep rose-pink color. Some fine, pink material from Bella Coola, British Columbia features black dendritic patterns.
Most rhodonite deposits in B.C. are in the form of lenses occurring with bedded chert or jasper. Very beautiful rose-pink material occurs on Saltspring Island and Vancouver Island , notably on Hill 60 and Cottonwood Creek. Other rhodonite bearing sedimentary rock formations are the Shoemaker formation near Keremeos; the Cache group from Tsitsutl Mountain (near Fort St. James) extending to Williams Lake; the Fennell formation (Clearwater to Barriere); the Cassiar area; and the Kaslo to Slocan area.