Masons Branch Brook, Cowee Valley, Macon County, North Carolina, USA
is a rose-pink to red variety of Pyrope,
which is a species in the Garnet Group.
The name Rhodolite originally referred only to a variety
of Pyrope Garnet but these days the name is used to
describe just about any pink to red Garnet in the Almandine-Pyrope
series. Chemically, Rhodolite can be pure Pyrope but
may also be a mixture of about 70% Pyrope and 30%
Almandine. Rhodolite gems vary in color from a rose-pink
to purple-pink or purple-red and also raspberry-red.
Many common red Garnets tend to be a very deep red with
a brownish tint but Rhodolite is lighter and brighter
because of its excellent clarity and relatively high
refractive index (RI). One source of Rhodolite gems
is the renowned Umba River Valley in Tanzania. Rhodolite
gems from this area are often called Umbalite.
A purplish varity of Rhodolite called "Grape Garnet"
has been found in Brazil.
was discovered in 1893
Creek and Masons Branch Brook, Cowee Valley, Macon County, North Carolina, USA
by Mr. A. M. Field of Asheville, North Carolina and
was believed to be a variety of Almandine. It wasn't
until analysis by William Earl Hidden (1853-1918)
and Joseph Hyde Pratt (1870-1942) in 1898 that it was
determined to be a variety of mostly Pyrope. Rhodolite
was named in 1898 by Hidden and Pratt
the Greek words
rose, and λίθος (lithos)
meaning stone, referring to its common rose
Rhodolite Garnet distribution:
at Brumado, Bahia, Brazil. At Lokirima, Lodwar, Turkana District, Rift Valley Province, Kenya.
In the US at Masons Branch, Macon County, North Carolina.
Also found in Burma (Myanmar), China, Madagascar, Mozambique, Norway,
South Africa, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.