Taos Rockers
229 A Camino de la Placita, Taos, NM, 87571
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Taos Rockers’ Mineral of the Month Blog

Typically each month, a mineral is showcased in our storefront as our Mineral of the Month. Come in to check out our display of the wide variety of differences found in the mineral due to localities in which it is found, as well as the different habits that the mineral takes on. Here, on our blog we present you with a write-up of information along with pictures showcasing each mineral chosen. We encourage and welcome your input! At the bottom of each page you will find a comments section. Happy sharing!

 

March Mineral of the month- Fluorite

Mineral of the month: Fluorite

Greeen Fluorite  Rogerly mine, Frosterley, County Durham, England

Greeen Fluorite Rogerly mine, Frosterley, County Durham, England

Fluorite & Quartz with Galena & Barite  Sunshine #2, Hansonburg District, Socorro County, New Mexico

Fluorite & Quartz with Galena & Barite Sunshine #2, Hansonburg District, Socorro County, New Mexico

Brown Fluorite  Clay Center, Ottawa County, Ohio

Brown Fluorite Clay Center, Ottawa County, Ohio

Fluorite, Galena, Barite & Quartz  Royal Flush Mine, Hansonburg District, Socorro County, New Mexico

Fluorite, Galena, Barite & Quartz Royal Flush Mine, Hansonburg District, Socorro County, New Mexico

 

Taos Rockers mineral of the month is 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: Fluorite

·  Chemistry: CaF2

·  Class: halide

·  Crystal system: Isometric

·  Color: purple, lilac, golden-yellow, green, colorless, blue, pink, champagne, brown

·  Refractive index: 1.433 to 1.448

·  Luster: vitreous, dull (when massive)

·  Specific gravity: 3.175-3.56

·  Mohs Hardness: 4.0 (Mohs hardness reference species)

·  Cleavage: perfect – perfect on {111}, very easy

·  Streak: white

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

 

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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.

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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").   

 

Melody, in her book Love Is In The Earth, says Fluorite is a "stone of discernment and aptitude...It emits an energy which can be used to stabilize & to produce order within the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual systems.  It can be used to bring order to chaos...excellent in helping one to understand the balances intrinsic to relationships....the fluorite colour relevant to the specific chakra can be used to clear the chakra and to cleanse any negativity from same."  Melody provides additional properties for several colors and configuration of fluorite.