What is fluorite?
Fluorite is a very interesting and popular mineral because of its variety of colors as well as its fluorescent effect under UV light. Some fluorite crystals can be pretty large, with some in Russia being up to 20 centimeters across, and the biggest one ever recorded being just over 2 meters and weighing 16 tonnes.
Fluorite is a crystal that forms in cubes, octahedrons or dodecahedrons, and comes in a wide variety of colors including purple, yellow, green, blue, pink, brown, or even transparent. The color of fluorite depends on the impurities that were introduced to it while it was formed. This mineral can form in clusters or as single crystals. It is made of calcium fluoride, making it relatively soft with a rating of 4 on the Mohs scale while also being brittle.
How is fluorite formed?
Fluorite deposits are formed in the veins of igneous rocks usually through hydrothermal activity, which is the movement of heated water under the earth. Fluorite deposits can often be found in limestones along with other minerals such as quartz, barite, and calcite. It can be found most commonly in South Africa, Mexico, and China. Some deposits can also be found in Canada as well, with the largest being in Newfoundland.
Fluorite in history
The earliest known uses of fluorite come from the ancient Chinese and Egyptians, where they were used for decoration or carved into statues and amulets. It was also used in ancient Rome, where much like amethyst, cups were carved from fluorite with the belief that it would prevent a person from getting drunk. Fluorite got its name in 1797 from the Latin word “fluere”, which means “to flow”. The word “fluorescence’ came from the word fluorite, meaning an object that absorbs ultraviolet light and radiates it back as visible light, giving these objects a bright, almost otherworldly shine.
Fluorite has many uses in our industries today. It is a major component of hydrogen fluoride, a chemical used in the manufacturing of many materials, such as aluminum. Natural fluorite is also used in the manufacture of glass lenses for cameras and telescopes, as well as cooking utensils.
How does fluorite fluoresce?
Fluorite is very popular due to its fluorescent effect under ultraviolet light. This effect is caused by the excitement of the electrons in the mineral from ultraviolet radiation, and when the excited electrons fall back to their normal energy states, they emit visible light, giving off a blue or sometimes red glow. The reason why fluorite does this may be because of impurities in the mineral such as the elements yttrium and ytterbium. The color of the visible light that fluorite emits depends on where it came from, as different places around the world have different impurities that it can be exposed to during its formation.
What are the different types of fluorite?
On top of having a wide range of different colors, there are different varieties of fluorite that have different characteristics from one another. The different varieties are:
- Antozonite: Fluorite with the element fluorine included in it. It is most commonly known for its bad smell when it is crushed, which happens because fluorine reacts to oxygen and water vapour to produce ozone.
- Blue John: This variety of fluorite is extremely rare, being found only in the United Kingdom. It has bands of blue, purple, and yellow color in the mineral.
- Chlorophane: This rare mineral has the unique property of thermoluminescence, meaning that it emits visible light in response to heat. It is sensitive enough that it may do this from the heat of someone’s hand while they hold it.
The properties of fluorite
Fluorite is known for its healing properties of cleansing and stabilizing the aura, as well as neutralizing negative energies and stress in the body. It is also used for helping with concentration, self-confidence, and decision-making. The different colors of fluorite are said to have different healing properties:
- Blue fluorite is used to calm emotions.
- Green fluorite is used to bring hormones into balance, as well as harmonizing the chakras.
- Purple fluorite is used for spiritual balance.
- Yellow fluorite is used to enhance creativity, as well as for calming the mind.
In meditation, fluorite is used to enhance creativity and to coordinate a person’s physical and mental abilities. The only color of fluorite that is a birthstone is green fluorite, representing people born from April 20th to May 20th. The zodiac signs for fluorite are Capricorn and Pisces.