1. Fluorite the Most Colourful Mineral in the World
2. Notable Occurrences of Fluorite
3. The Mineral Fluorite | Did You Know?
4. Article Photos
5. Fluorite | Explore Our Collection
6. Read More
Fluorite the Most Colourful Mineral in the World
Fluorite crystals represent one of the widest colour ranges of any natural mineral and colours are often bright and vibrant. Although described as the most colourful mineral in the world, in its purest form fluorite is colourless. Impurities within the crystal structure are the reason for the change in 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 fluorite is exposed to heat or bright sunlight for any length of time the colour is likely to fade.
Although hues of yellow, green, blue and purple are the most common, the mineral fluorite can also be white, pink, reddish orange, brown and even black. Crystals tend to be transparent or translucent with a vitreous or glass-like lustre. When void of impurities fluorite is made up of 51.1% calcium, 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 crystallises in massive form which means the crystals have intergrown to form one large shapeless mass. Fluorites' ability to fluoresce when exposed to ultraviolet light has been well documented. The word 'fluorescent' came about because this optical phenomenon was first observed in the mineral fluorite. Fluorescence is caused by specific impurities within the crystal structure but interestingly, not all fluorite crystals will fluoresce even in stones 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 crystals 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 for the mineral fluorite 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 bill in 1965 declaring fluorite as its official state mineral
The Mineral Fluorite | Did You Know?
The name fluorite originates from the Latin word 'fluere' meaning 'to flow' because the 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 crystals are known to have been used in Ancient Egypt and the mineral was also mined by the Romans. Two fluorite cups which date from around 50 - 100 AD are housed in the British Museum.
A wonderfully colourful mineral, fluorite 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 very easily. On Mohs scale of mineral hardness fluorite grades 4 so stones 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 crystals are said to attract a change in circumstances and strengthen psychic ability whilst green can have a positive influence on matters of employment, money, growth and fertility. Yellow fluorite is known for strengthening intellect and study stamina, 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 help to restore balance within the four levels that make us human, the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Crystals can be placed close to computers to help relieve stress related to EMF (electromagnetic fields) and other negative forces.
The fluorite photos featured in our article are all clickable and redirect to the original image. The fluorite in the photo at the top of the page is courtesy of Steve (Singingstone48 - Flickr). The large green fluorite is housed in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. The fluorite crystal in our third photo is (or once was) part of our own collection.