Hardness: 3- 3 1/2
Crystal System: Orthorhombic
Mineral of the Month: April 2015
Rose rocks, also called the “barite rose” or “sand-barite rosette” the reddish-brown sandy crystals of barite that resemble a rose in full bloom, are more abundant in Oklahoma than anywhere else in the world. They have been reported in small quantities in California, Kansas, and Egypt, but are in greatest concentration in the Permian Garber Sandstone in a narrow belt that extends 80 miles through the central part of Oklahoma between Paul’s Valley and Guthrie. The most abundant and well-formed specimens are found in an area just east of Norman, near Noble, also known as the “Rose Rock Capital of the World”. Alternate spelling is “baryte.”
The rose-like appearance of the rock’s petal-shaped clusters is due to the intergrowth of crystals of barite (a mineral compound of barium sulfate) into a cluster of divergent blades. Barite was precipitated in interconnected voids in the rock, probably from barium rich marine waters that covered the Permian Garber Sandstone during or shortly after its deposition about 250 million years ago. The rose-like concretions incorporated the iron stained quartz sand grains and thus acquired the red color of the host Garber Sandstone.