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Fluorite

The name fluorite comes from the Latin fluere which means “to flow” - a reference to its use as a flux. The term fluorescence is derived from fluorite – an effect which is often exhibited by site-specific specimens due to impurities in the crystal. The element fluorine also derives its name from fluorite – a major source of the element.  The term fluorspar has been used since 1530 for fluorite, and is used in present day for fluorite as the industrial and chemical commodity. 

 

Mineral formula: CaF2

Mineral group: a halide, member of the fluorite group

Crystal system: isometric

Crystal habit: cubes, octahedra; columnar or globular aggregates; botryoidal (rare)

Cleavage: perfect cleavage on {111}

Fracture: splintery to sub-conchoidal

Color: many! Shades of purple, yellow, green, blue, pink, clear, brown

Luster: vitreous to dull

Diaphaneity: transparent

Moh’s scale hardness: 4

Streak: white

Specific gravity: 3.175 – 3.56

Named after: Named in 1797 by Carlo Antonio Galeani Napione from the Latin, fluere = "to flow" (for its use as a flux). The term fluorescence is derived from fluorite, which will often markedly exhibit this effect. The element fluorine also derives its name from fluorite, a major source of the element

Type localities: Jáchymov, Karlovy Vary District, Karlovy Vary Region, Czech Republic;
Breitenbrunn, Breitenbrunn, Erzgebirgskreis, Saxony, Germany

Geological occurrence:  Fluorite is found as a common gangue mineral in hydrothermal veins, especially those containing lead and zinc minerals. It is also found in some greisens, granites, pegmatites and high-temperature veins, and as a component of some marbles and other metamorphic rocks. 

Energetic Properties: According to Melody,* fluorite supports stability, promoting order and organization in the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual realms. This often brings greater calm and clarity.  Each color of fluorite supports the associated chakras. By promoting order, fluorite also helps to release that which disrupts order.

*Melody (2008) Love is in the Earth, the Crystal & Mineral Encyclopedia. Earth Love Publishing, 976 pp.

 

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Fluorite (fluorspar) has three principal types of industrial use based upon different grades of purity.  Metallurgical grade (60-85% CaF2) is used as a flux to lower the melting point of raw materials in steel production.  Ceramic grade (85-95% CaF2) is used in the manufacture of opalescent glass, enamels and cooking utensils.  Acid grade (97% or more CaF2), which  accounts for 95% of fluorite consumption in the US, is used to make hydrogen fluoride and hydrofluoric acid, and is used in the production of fluorine compounds used in aluminium smelting.  Natural fluorite also has ornamental and lapidary uses.  Due to its relative softness and perfect cleavage, it is not widely used as a semiprecious stone.  Fluorite also has uses in optics, especially as a window material for both infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths.

Fluorite is allochromatic – it can be tinted with elemental impurities.  Color zoning (banding) is commonly present.  Fluorite’s color is determined by impurities, exposure to radiation, and the absence or voids of the color centers.  Some specimens are light sensitive and become paler on exposure to light.

Many samples of fluorite exhibit fluorescence under ultraviolet light. This phenomenon involves the release of quanta of visible light caused when the ultraviolet light striking the crystal lattice elevates the electron energy followed by the progressive falling back of the electrons into their previous energy state.  The visible light emitted is most commonly blue, however red, purple, yellow, green and white also occur.  The fluorescence may be due to mineral impurities(such as rare-earth elements) or organic matter (hydrocarbons) in the crystal lattice.  Variations within a given locality affect the degree of fluorescene.

Fluorite is found as a common gangue mineral in hydrothermal veins, especially those containing lead and zinc minerals.  It is also found in some greisens, granites, pegmatites and high-temperature veins, and as a component of some marbles and other metamorphic rocks.  Usual crystal morphology is as cubes, less often octahedrons and rarely dodecahedrons.  Combinations and modifications of these forms are common.  Minute cubes may be aggregated to form an octahedron or as an overgrowth of crystals upon the corners of an earlier formed crystal of differing habit.  Fluorite is a widely occurring mineral found throughout the world with the largest deposits being in South Africa, Mexico and China.  World reserves are estimated at 230 million tons.  China is the world’s leading producer, followed by Mexico, Mongolia, Russia, South Africa, Spain and Namibia.

Some of the mineral locales from which specimens of Fluorite are available at Taos Rockers include:

Bulgaria

China

Illinois

Kentucky

Mexico

Namibia

New Mexico

Ohio

Tennessee

United Kingdom

Utah


Tiffany stone is a fine-grained purple to pale violet fluorite with swirl patterns with impurities of intergrown bertrandite, chalcedony, opal and/or quartz used for lapidary purposes.

Shu Fa Stone is an intricate box-work of translucent, botryoidal, lavender-to-white fluorite that drapes over a hard sandstone matrix.  When this stone is cut into slabs and mounted for display it has a striking resemblance to the brushstrokes of Chinese calligraphy.  (Shufa literally translates as "calligraphy").    

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Fluorite Pyramid
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Purple Fluorite 1.2" Sphere