Appearance, Uses and History
Fluorite is the mineral form of calcium fluoride.
In industry, it is used as a flux for smelting, and a source of fluoride. The industrial term is ‘fluorspar’, while ‘fluorite’ is typically used in a geological and mineralogical context.
It is used in the manufacture of hydrofluoric acid, a reasonably terrifying acid. The material is also used for optics – optically clear pieces of fluorite do not exhibit as much chromatic aberration as other materials and are excellent for use in microscopes, telescopes, and the ultraviolet/infrared ranges.
It can also be used in the manufacture of certain glasses and enamels.
It is worth taking a moment to clarify the differences between fluorite, fluoride, and fluorine – a single letter makes quite a difference!
- Fluorine is a chemical element, number 9 on the periodic table.
- Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, often used to help with dental health.
- Fluorite is a naturally occurring crystalline mineral.
Fluorite gives its name to the phenomenon of fluorescence, a form of luminescence exhibited by many Fluorite specimens.
Fluorite is loved by collectors due to its wide range of bright colours, and fascinating crystalline formations – it has, in fact, been dubbed ‘the most colourful mineral in the world’. I’m sure Tourmaline would have something to say, but…
British Fluorite is extremely popular worldwide, with Fluorite specimens from County Durham and Derbyshire considered exceptional.
There are, of course, numerous jewellery and lapidary usages of Fluorite. There are numerous excellent carvings of the stone found, including Roman cups and chalices.
It is relatively soft, and therefore not ideal for jewellery usage, but Fluorite cabochons and beads are quite common. Jewellery containing Fluorite should ideally be designed to protect the stone.
Fluorite is extremely common with locales in almost every country.
Fine specimens are found in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czechia, France, Germany, India, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, the UK, and the USA.
Massive, crystalline, nodular, botryoidal, granular, octahedra, massive.
Photos of Fluorite
Hazards and Warnings
Fluorite is safe to handle, and while it does contain Fluorine, this is not typically a risk factor.
Powdered Fluorite mixed with concentrated Sulphuric acid can produce hydrofluoric acid, which is very dangerous – but realistically, you’re probably not going to be powdering it and mixing it with acids!
Almost all rocks, minerals (and, frankly, almost all other substances on earth) can produce toxic dust when cutting, which can cause serious respiratory conditions including silicosis.
When cutting or polishing rocks, minerals, shells, etc, all work should be done wet to minimise the dust, and a suitable respirator or extraction system should be used.
- الفلوريت معدن متبلور
- एक प्रकार का धात्विया
- плавиковый шпат
- la fluorine
- spath fluor
- Espato fluor
Mandarin and Traditional Chinese: