piece comes from the XIEFANG MINE,
COUNTY, JIANGXI PROVINCE, CHINA.
This specimen features CUBOCTAHDRAL
PURPLE FLUORITE perched on
GLITTERING WHITE QUARTZ.
This is a NEW FIND
which we picked up out in TUCSON,
AZ in February from a Chinese
dealer who was selling a large selection of very fine Chinese
minerals she had brought over from China for the show (it is
noteworthy how many women from China are mineral dealers, and
how few men there are by comparison - just the opposite of the
American, European, and Russian dealers).
is a mineral with a veritable bouquet of brilliant colors. Fluorite
is well known and prized for its glassy luster and rich variety
of colors. The range of common colors for fluorite starting
from the hallmark color purple, then blue, green, yellow, colorless,
brown, pink, black and reddish orange is amazing and is only
rivaled in color range by quartz. Intermediate pastels between
the previously mentioned colors are also possible. It is easy
to see why fluorite earns the reputation as "The Most Colorful
Mineral in the World".
The many colors of fluorite are truly wonderful. The rich purple
color is by far fluorite's most famous and popular color. It
easily competes with the beautiful purple of amethyst. Often
specimens of fluorite and amethyst with similar shades of purple
are used in mineral identification classes to illustrate the
folly of using color as the sole means to identify minerals.
blue, green and yellow varieties of fluorite are also deeply
colored, popular and attractive. The colorless variety is not
as well received as the colored varieties, but their rarity
still makes them sought after by collectors. A brown variety
found in Ohio and elsewhere has a distinctive iridescence that
improves an otherwise poor color for fluorite. The rarer colors
of pink, reddish orange (rose) and even black are usually very
attractive and in demand.
specimens of fluorite have a single color, but a significant
percentage of fluorites have multiple colors and the colors
are arranged in bands or zones that correspond to the shapes
of fluorite's crystals. In other words, the typical habit of
fluorite is a cube and the color zones are often in cubic arrangement.
The effect is similar to phantomed crystals that appear to have
crystals within crystals that are of differing colors. A fluorite
crystal could have a clear outer zone allowing a cube of purple
fluorite to be seen inside. Sometimes the less common habits
such as a colored octahedron are seen inside of a colorless
cube. One crystal of fluorite could potentially have four or
five different color zones or bands.
top it all off, fluorite is frequently fluorescent and, like
its normal light colors, its fluorescent colors are extremely
variable. Typically it fluoresces blue but other fluorescent
colors include yellow, green, red, white and purple. Some specimens
have the added effect of simultaniously having a different color
under longwave UV light from its color under shortwave UV light.
And some will even demonstrate phosphorescence in a third color!
That's four possible color luminescence in one specimen! If
you count the normal light color too. The blue fluorescence
has been attributed to the presence of europium ions (Eu +2).
Yttrium is the activator for the yellow fluorescence. Green
and red fluorescent activation is not exactly pinned down as
of yet, but may be due to the elements already mentioned as
well as other rare earth metals; also manganese, uranium or
a combination of these. Even unbonded fluorine trapped in the
structure has been suggested. The word fluorescent was derived
from fluorite since specimens of fluorite were some of the first
fluorescent specimens ever studied. The naming followed the
naming precedence set by opalescence from opal; ergo fluorescence
unique luminescent property of fluorite is its thermoluminescence.
Thermoluminescence is the ability to glow when heated. Not all
fluorites do this, in fact it is quite a rare phenomenon. A
variety of fluorite known as "chlorophane" can demonstrate
this property very well and will even thermoluminesce while
the specimen is held in a person's hand activated by the person's
own body heat (of course in a dark room, as it is not bright
enough to be seen in daylight). The thermoluminescence is green
to blue-green and can be produced on the coils of a heater or
electric stove top. Once seen, the glow will fade away and can
no longer by seen in the same specimen again. It is a one shot
deal. Chlorophane (which means to show green) is found in very
limited quantities at Amelia Court House, Virginia; Franklin,
New Jersey and the Bluebird Mine, Arizona, USA; Gilgit, Pakistan;
Mont Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, Canada and at Nerchinsk in the Ural
has other qualities besides its great color assortments that
make it a popular mineral. It has several different crystal
habits that always produce well formed, good, clean crystals.
The cube is by far the most recognized habit of fluorite followed
by the octahedron which is believed to form at higher temperatures
than the cube. Although the cleavage of fluorite can produce
an octahedral shape and these cleaved octahedrons are popular
in rock shops the world over, the natural (e.g. uncleaved) octahedrons
are harder to find.
rarer habit variety is the twelve sided dodecahedron however
it is never seen by itself and usually modifies the cubic crystals
by replacing the edges of the cube with one flat face of a dodecahedron.
The tetrahexahedron is a twenty four sided habit that is also
seen modifying the cubic habit. But instead of one face replacing
each cubic edge, two faces modify the cube's edges. Occasionally
combinations of a cube, dodecahedron and tetrahexahedron are
seen producing an overall cubic crystal with no less that three
minor parallel faces replacing each cubic edge. A fifth form
is the hexoctahedron which modifies the cube by placing six
very minor faces at each corner of the cube. Twinning is also
common in fluorite and symmetrical penetration twins, especially
from Cumberland England are much sought after by collectors.
as mention above, has octahedral cleavage. This means that it
has four identical directions of cleavage and when cleaved in
the right ways can produce a perfect octahedral shape. Many
thousands of octahedrons are produced from massive or large
undesirable crystals of fluorite (hopefully!) and are sold in
rock shops and museum gift shops at a small cost. Fluorite mine
workers are reported to sit down at lunch breaks and cleave
the octahedrons for the extra cash. The octahedrons are very
popular due to their attractive colors, clarity, "diamond-shaped"
and low costs, but to a serious collector they are nothing more
than "cleavage fragments".
not only is attractive in its own right but is often associated
with other attractive minerals. Fluorite crystals will frequently
accompany specimens of silver gray galena, brassy yellow pyrite,
chalcopyrite or marcasite, golden barite, black sparkling sphalerite,
intricately crystallized calcite and crystal clear quartz, even
origin of the word fluorite comes from the use of fluorite as
a flux in steel and aluminum processing. It was originally referred
to as fluorospar by miners and is still called that today. Fluorite
is also used as a source of fluorine for hydrofluoric acid and
fluorinated water. The element fluorine also gets its name from
fluorite, fluorines only common mineral. Other uses of fluorite
include an uncommon use as a gemstone (low hardness and good
cleavage reduce its desirability as a gemstone), ornamental
carvings (sometimes misleadingly called Green Quartz) and special
is the most popular mineral for mineral collectors in the world,
second only to quartz. Every mineral collection owned by even
the newest and youngest of mineral collectors must have a specimen
of fluorite. Fluorite is by far one of the most beautiful and
interesting minerals available on the mineral markets.
interested in metaphysics and CRYSTAL
HEALING tell us that fluorite is a POWERFUL
HEALER that grounds excess energy, and is excellent
for concentration and meditation, bringing SPIRITUAL
PEACE and wholeness. It is known as the "STONE
OF THE MIND", aiding comprehension and decision making
while discouraging chaos. OCTAHEDRAL
FLUORITE is believed to DISSOLVE
MENTAL BLOCKS, narrow mindedness, and thought constricting
patterns. In addition, the color green effects HARMONY,
ABUNDANCE, the physical heart and HEALING.
Fluorite brings ORDER from
chaos. It is the "STONE OF DISCERNMENT
and aptitude" that acts as a protective, PSYCHIC
SHIELD and AURIC CLEANSER.
It also HELPS RELATIONSHIPS
and encourages and sustains the flawless ideal of health, intellect
and EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING.
finds a keeper!
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