The gypsum rose forms from hydrated calcium sulfate in arid and semi-arid desert conditions where old seas once existed. All rock formations are different. A few actually resemble small roses with wide-open petals and unique coloration. Others form into large clusters of tiny rosettes, and a few grow as bladed spheres. Gardeners enjoy placing gypsum roses in the garden for decoration.
During the rose gypsum creation it takes on the coloration of whatever sand it is formed within. Pure gypsum is crystal clear, but rose gypsum can vary in coloration, with pink ones being the favorite of collectors because of their formation in dusky rose-colored sands. Most sand roses are dark brown, but a few appear as honey-colored if the sand they were created within is coarse and creamy in color.
Rose gypsum forms in a dry, desert location that contains ample calcium sulfate (CaSO4) and a large amount of brine. The formation process begins just above the water table because water is required in the mineral rock's creation. The water table must rise periodically and then recede to create sand rich pockets in which the rose gypsum crystals develop. As the water rises it traps sand within the pockets, which gives the gypsum crystals their unique coloration.
Hunting the Gypsum Rose
Sand gypsum rose crystals can be found at a soil depth between 1 and 4 feet depending on the depth of the seasonal water table. As the desert winds whip through many locations, the gypsum rose rocks can often be found lying on the sand's surface. In other locations that do not suffer extreme massive erosion, you must dig down to locate the gypsum rose. A relatively young rock formation, most average only a few decades to a few hundred years in age.
In the Sahara Desert, where gypsum roses are widely gathered for commercial sale, the local people believe that the mineral possesses a magical internal energy that can provide protection, purification and wealth to the finder. Commercially the gypsum rose is widely used in jewelry production, as an aquarium decoration, yard ornament and home decor.
Care of the Gypsum Rose
Care of gypsum rose should only consist of simple rinsing with water. Never use soap or detergent on the formation because the gypsum may have small cracks or fissures that can trap the soap or allow it into the formation itself and destroy the overall look of the rose. Rarely, water becomes trapped within the gypsum during its formation and makes a small water bubble in its interior. Such a gypsum specimen is extremely sought-after by collectors, according to the Mineral and Gemstone Kingdom.