Uses: As a flux (hence the name) in iron smelting, a rare gemstone, a source of fluorine, as special optical lenses and a popular mineral specimen.
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Fluorite 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".
Most 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.
Origin Of The Name
The name Fluorite comes from the Latin word "fluere" which means "to flow" because it melts easily. The name was given by Georg Agricola in 1546.
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 from fluorite.
Fluorite is fluorescent and 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 simultaneously 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.
Another 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.
Where Is It Found
Except in its pink, curved crystal habit dolomite is hard to distinguish from its second cousin, calcite.
What Do We Do With It
Fluorite is the most popular mineral for mineral collectors in the world, second only to quartz.
Used in production of hydrofluoric acid, which is used in the electroplating, stainless steel, refrigerant, and plastics industries, in production of aluminum fluoride, which is used in aluminum smelting, as a flux in ceramics and glass, and in steel furnaces, and in emery wheels, optics, and welding rods.
The majority of the United States? annual consumption of fluorspar is for the production of hydrofluoric acid (HF) and aluminum fluoride (AlF3). HF is a key ingredient for the production of all organic and non-organic chemicals that contain the element fluorine. It is also used in the manufacture of uranium. AlF3 is used in the production of aluminum.
The remainder of fluorspar consumption is as a flux in making steel, glass, enamel, and other products. A flux is a substance that lowers the melting temperature of a material.
Fluorite is a highly protective and stabilizing stone, useful for grounding and harmonizing spiritual energy. When working with the upper Chakras, Fluorite increases intuitive abilities, links the human mind to universal consciousness, and develops connection to Spirit. Fluorite further anchors intuitive insights into the physical plane, allowing mental and physical coordination. A popular stone among energy healers, Fluorite can also clear the aura of mucky energies.
Fluorite heightens mental abilities, assisting in rapid organization and processing of information and can bring mental clarity and stability to an otherwise chaotic situation. Fluorite absorbs negative energies from the environment and is effective at Auric and Chakra cleansing. Fluorite can also shield the user from psychic manipulation. Due to its powerful ability to absorb negative energies, Fluorite should be cleared often. Physically, Fluorite is known to strengthen bones and teeth, and ameliorate the pain associated with arthritis. Fluorite is also used to enhance mental functions by balancing the chemistry in the brain.
In addition to the general metaphysical uses of Fluorite, there are unique properties associated with the different colors of Fluorite. Rainbow Fluorite exhibits a combination of these properties. Green Fluorite aids access to intuition. Green Fluorite can ground and absorb excess energy, including environmental energies. Use Green Fluorite to cleanse and renew the chakras. Wonderful healing piece! Vibrates to the number 2. When used with the Third Eye Chakra, Blue Fluorite brings spiritual awaking and clear communication between the physical and spiritual planes. Used with the Throat Chakra, Blue Fluorite aids in orderly communication of intuitive insights. The calm, serene energy of Blue Fluorite brings inner peace. Vibrates to the number 2.
Purple Fluorite stimulates the Third Eye Chakra and brings some common sense to psychic intuitions. Use Purple Fluorite when you want to really focus on the expression of Spirit, and communicate precisely its messages. Vibrates to the Master Number 77. Yellow Fluorite brings understanding and manifestation to intuitions. A stone of unity, Yellow Fluorite harmonizes group energy and enhances creativity. Excellent detox stone! Vibrates to the number 9. Use Clear, colorless Fluorite with the Crown Chakra to bring about a merging of personal and spiritual energies. Clear Fluorite aligns all of the chakras, and helps you see what is holding you back in your spiritual evolution. Vibrates to the number 2.
Color: Extremely variable and many times can be an intense purple, blue, green or yellow; also colorless, reddish orange, pink, white and brown. A single crystal can be multi-colored
Transparency: Transparent to translucent
Crystal System: Isometric; 4/m bar 3 2/m
Crystal Habits: Typical cube and to a lesser extent, the octahedron as well as combinations of these two and other rarer isometric habits. Always with equant crystals; less common are crusts and botryoidal forms. Twinning also produces penetration twins that look like two cubes grown together.
Cleavage: Perfect in 4 directions forming octahedrons
Fracture: Irregular and brittle
Specific Gravity: 3.1
Associated Minerals: Quartz, Calcite and Barite.
Best Field Indicators: Crystal habit, color zoning, hardness (harder than calcite, but softer than quartz or apatite), fluorescence and especially the octahedral cleavage.
Museum Quality Southern Illinois Fluorite Specimen