Historical information

This specimen was acquired between 1852 and 1874, before being given to the Burke Museum.

Rhodonite is a reddish-pink manganese silicate material and often contains iron, magnesium and calcium. It is usually found in metamorphic rocks (rocks which have been altered by heat, pressure or chemical process). It can range in size from tiny to massive. Because of their composition they are not suitable for use in jewellery because they are hard enough. It is quite rare to find, though has been found in Australia, North America, South America and Europe.


This specimen is part of larger collection of significant geological specimens in the Burke Museum that was collected from around the world between 1868-1880. A large percentage of these specimens were collection as part of the Geological Survey of Victoria 1852-1974. The Geological Survey of Victoria was an organisation founded in response to the Victorian gold rush to explore the geological and mineral resources and to record a detailed map of the state. It was headed by British geologist, Alfred Richard Cecil Selwyn (1824-1902), who was responsible for issuing over 60 geological maps during his 17 years as director. These maps were all hand-drawn and coloured and became the benchmark for accuracy for geological mapping. Collecting geological specimens was an important part of mapping and understanding the scientific makeup of the earth. Many of these specimens were sent to research and collecting organisations across Australia, including the Burke Museum, to educate and encourage further study.

Physical description

This specimen is a palm shaped piece of loellingite within rhodonite. It is mostly reddish-pink coloured, with flecks of light and dark grey.

Loellingite is a grey iron arsenide which often forms into crystal shapes. It is mostly found in mesothermal veins (caused by immense heat) with sulfides or in limestone. It is toxic when heated or struck.