Fluorite Stone | Properties and Meaning
1. What Exactly is Fluorite
2. Notable Occurrences of Fluorite
3. More Facts About the Mineral Fluorite
4. Our Photos
5. Our Collection of Fluorite
6. Further Reading
What Exactly is Fluorite?
Fluorite represents one of the widest colour ranges of any natural mineral and colours are often bright and vibrant. Although described as the world's most colourful mineral, in its purest form fluorite is colourless. Impurities within the crystals are the reason they change colour and heat from natural geological processes such as radiation can also be a contributing factor. With that said, it should be noted that if a fluorite is exposed to heat or bright sunlight for any length of time its colour is likely to fade.
Although hues of yellow, green, blue and purple are the most common, fluorite can also be white, blue, red or brown. Crystals tend to be transparent or translucent with a vitreous or glass-like lustre. When void of impurities the mineral consists of 51.1% calcium and 48.9% fluorine but with impurities comes small amounts of silicon, aluminium and magnesium. Inclusions of gasses and fluids such as petroleum and water are also sometimes present.
Although crystals tend to be well formed and often occur as cubes, fluorite also occurs in massive form which means crystals have intergrown to form one large mass hence their shape is not visible. Fluorite's ability to fluoresce when exposed to ultraviolet light is well known and the word 'fluorescent' comes from fluorite because it was the first mineral in which this optical phenomenon was observed. Fluorescence is caused by specific impurities within the crystal structure but interestingly not all fluorite will fluoresce even when stones are obtained from the same locality.
Notable Occurrences of Fluorite
Although fluorite can be found in a wide range of different geological environments and in many places around the world, only a handful of deposits have produced large quantities of fine grade gemstones. Some of the finest specimens come from England particularly Durham, Cornwall and Cumberland. Castleton in Derbyshire is famous for a rare variety of fluorite known as Derbyshire Blue John which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. It occurs in massive form, exhibits bands of yellow and purple colour and is now almost completely mined out hence is exceptionally rare.
Other notable deposits can be found in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Mexico and Canada. The state of Illinois in the USA was once the world's largest producer but the last mine closed in 1995. The Illinois general assembly passed a resolution in 1965 declaring fluorite as its official state mineral
More Facts About the Mineral Fluorite
The name fluorite originates from the Latin word 'fluere' meaning 'to flow' because this natural occurring mineral has a very low melting point. This name is a reference to the ease in which it melts when being used as a flux in the smelting and refining of metals. Fluorite is widely used in industry where it's known as fluorspar. It's used in the manufacture of fibreglass, ceramics and opaque glass and is also used in the chemical, iron and steel industries. The mineral form of calcium fluoride, it's the main source of natural fluorine which is used for the fluoridation of water, in toothpaste because of its ability to fight cavities and in Teflon where it helps provide the non stick surface of cooking pans. Fluorite is known to have been used in Ancient Egypt and was also mined by the Romans. Two fluorite cups which date from around 50 - 100 AD are housed in the British Museum.
This exceptionally colourful mineral is a favourite with collectors and enthusiasts and is also popular as a lapidary material. It is however soft and fragile so will fracture or break easily. On Mohs scale of mineral hardness fluorite grades 4 so must be handled very carefully.
When used for crystal healing fluorite with violet or purple colour is said to aid meditation, when hints of light blue are present it helps with patience, contentment and happiness. Dark blue is said to attract a change in circumstances and strengthen psychic ability and green can have a positive influence on matters of employment, money, growth and fertility. Yellow fluorite is known for strengthening intellect and study stamina and orange is linked to energy, stimulation and stamina (both physical and spiritual) as well as the ability to cope in a crisis. Fluorite carries an energy that can bring calmness to chaos and helps to restore a balance within the four levels that make us human, the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Crystals are often placed around computers and in the workplace to help relieve stress related to EMF (electromagnetic fields) and other associated negative forces.
All of the photos in this article are clickable and will take you to the original sized photograph. The photo at the top of the page is courtesy of Steve (Singingstone48 - Flickr). The next two photos were taken by Stone Mania during visits to London's Natural History Museum.
Our Collection of Fluorite