Today's blog has been inspired by a fb chat i had online yesterday with a fellow blogger. He commented on the fact that he is a collector of gemstones, and has a number of fine specimens of the gemstone I featured yesterday, labradorite. He also mentioned another gemstone which is a passion of his because of its amazing light emitting qualities. That gemstone is fluorite.
The properties of fluorite are some of the most complex in the gemstone world, and many of them are still a bit of a mystery. It's a common stone and available in all continents and subsequently its colours cover the full spectrum.
The Fluorite I'm going to cover today is the purple, green and green/blue fluorite from the North East of England. Fluorite from this part of the world has the special quality of fluorescence, or changes colour under UV light. In fact the word fluorescence derives from the name of the gemstone. The light emitted from the gemstone under UV light is usually a blue colour. But other colors do also occur. For some specimens of fluorite it is possible for the colour to change when moved from bright sunlight into shade. The fluorescence may be caused by trace amounts of the rare earth elements yttrium and ytterbium, or volatile hydrocarbons. The blue fluorescence is certainly attributed to the presence of the rare earth metal europium in the crystal lattice formation of fluorite.
Fluorite is a common gemstone because it is often found with minerals such as silver, tin and lead. Thus miners have been taking it home for thousands of years. Fluorite takes its name from the Latin word fluere, which means "to flow". This is due to the minerals low melting temperature. It's an important mineral for industry. It is the primary source for fluorine gas and hydrofluoric acid used to make steel, enamel and glassware.
There are many metaphysical properties assigned to this gemstone. But my favorite is the one that propagates empathy and understanding in relationships. Not just romantic relations, but family and group relations in general.
For the jewellers out there it's important to know that this gemstone is tricky to set because it is quite soft. But if you can put a collection together with a UV light in one of the cabinets, it will make for a truly unusual and eye catching display. Fluorite worn to nightclub and raves will certainly attract attention under their UV lights.
There really is so much more that I could write on this gemstone. But I'm well aware that a couple of the paragraphs in this blog have become a bit geeky. Some may say boring. For that I can only apologise. I promise tomorrows blog will be much shorter. I might even try for whimsy. Although it has to be said, I much doubt it.