Rhodolite (not to be confused with Rhodonite, an also red-pink but always opaque gem) is one of the, potentially infinite, pyrope-almandine combinations that was honored with its own name, a linguistic combination of old Greek for ‘roses and stones’.
And true it is, a fine Rhodolite, well cut, clean and richly colored, deserves the adjective ‘precious’ before ‘gemstone’.
Excursion: In leisurely shop-talk even the most politically correct trader still uses the word ‘semi-precious’ for all non-emerald-sapphire-ruby-diamonds, though the distinction has officially been declared obsolete a long time ago. A poor quality ruby with red painted surface or re-constituted emerald powder does not deserve to be more 'precious' than a natural garnet.
In fact, the high-priest of gemstone treatment, Ted Themalis (the name is program), suggested in 2008 that we shall call only untreated natural gems 'gemstones' with no distinction in precious or semi-, and stop calling treated gems 'gemstones' because, as this old insider knows, the ‘stuff’ they produce in Chantaburi (a secretive Thai town close to the Cambodian border) should not be called ‘natural’ because they are not, nor be called ‘gemstones’ because that implies rareness. What shall we call those mutant gems? I’ll leave the naming and marketing to the people producing them.
Back to Rhodolite, a union of part almandine and part pyrope garnet, and a frequent find in our first hunting grounds of Sri Lanka’s mountainous heartland. A Rhodolite, or two, perhaps a few small sapphire crystals, lucky signs but not worth faceting, were often the only gems a long day of mining produced. Anybody dissing Rhodolite at the end of such a day would be banned from dinner.
Since Rhodolite is still a very affordable gem you can expect good cutting, preferable a precision cut, vivid colors, little or no inclusions, and full sizes. Even on a tight budget you need not to make many compromises for a pretty gem. Of course, as explained here, you will always find countless Rhodolites on offer that have nasty windows, are badly cut or terribly included. Such gems sell for ten dollars per carat wholesale (basically rough cost plus cutting wages under 3rd world conditions) and retail on ebay for way under $50 per a carat, and the seller still has a terrific margin. ‘Quantity’ is the word here.
Our Rhodolites go up to several hundred USD per carat because we pay them as much attention (a.k.a. work) as we do for any ruby or demantoid with several full quality images and grading reports, plus they come with the same extras such as our WLT program, original 3rd party reports and free shipping.
The very best and collector rarities, like this Montana garnet or this huge precision cut gem, are priced without references and with no upper limit because they are too unique.