What happens when you discover a mineral that can change color according to your light?
Fluorite is a one of a kind mineral that you should know all about. Read on to find out more about this overly abundant mineral.
How To Tell if Fluorite Is Real (EXPLAINED)
What is Fluorite?
When you think of important industrial minerals, then fluorite should be at the top of your list.
This mineral has been used in various ceramic, chemical, and metallurgical processes.
Fluorite is made up of equal parts of calcium and fluorine.
One of the great things about this mineral is that it comes in amusing colors that can be cut into eye-catching gems.
In some cases, it can be used to make ornamental objects.
In nature, there are various ways that fluorite occurs.
For instance, it can be deposited into the veins of rocks through hydrothermal processes.
This is when it can occur as a gangue mineral that’s mainly associated with what we know as metallic ores.
In other cases, we can find it hidden in cavities and fractures of our common types of rocks such as dolomite and limestone.
It is commonly identified as a rock forming mineral.
Moreover, it’s found in many parts of the world.
That’s how common this mineral is. In fact, in the mining industry, it’s often referred to as fluorspar.
There are certain instances where this mineral can resemble other minerals, such as quartz.
However, due to its versatile burst of color when it’s fully formed, it’s easier to identify when you know exactly what you’re looking at.
The chemical classification for this mineral is halide.
And it has an isometric crystal shape.
Tips for Identifying Fluorite
The thing about fluorite is that it’s one of those widely collected crystals in the world.
It’s so common to come across it that I’m most cases it’s easy to mistake it for other crystals.
In addition, it comes in different colors which makes it easier for it to resemble other crystals that we know.
For example, it can be variations of purple, and these can be mistaken for amethyst.
It’s important for you to know how to identify this crystal to ensure that you don’t make the most common mistakes. These tips should help you identify your fluorite easier.
1. Study the Structure
If you’ve been collecting crystals for a while now, you’ll know that the structure plays a very significant role in its identification.
With fluorite, structure is the most simplest identification mark.
Its cubic crystal structure is usually the first thing that will catch your attention.
You don’t even need to take it to a laboratory to further examine the structure.
However, you’re likely to see geometrical variations of this structure the more you look for your fluorite.
Some of these cubic shapes will have rare modifications on them.
For instance, you might find a cubic shape attached on the edge of another one.
This is when we say that the crystal has been modified by octahedral cleavage.
2. Examine it for Fluorescing
If you’ve ever wondered where the name fluorite came from, then it should start to make sense now.
The fluorescing of this crystal is what you’d call its hallmark.
The fact is that it was one of the first crystals that were ever studied and showed fluorescent properties.
This crystal has the ability to display luminescence when it absorbs radiation at different wavelengths. When you place fluorite under a UV light, it will usually appear blue.
This is a result of the europium ions that are found in it.
However, if placed under different lighting conditions, then it can fluoresce into other bright colors like green, yellow, or red.
3. Look for Phosphorescence
It’s quite rare for minerals to have the ability to glow even after a lighting fixture has been removed from them.
But, that’s not the case with this mineral.
It seems like fluorite just enjoys glowing for no reason at all.
In fact, in addition to the fluorescence and phosphorescence, this mineral can also display thermoluminescence.
This happens when it has been heated.
However, it’s important to note that this isn’t a property that you can find in all types of fluorite.
These are some of the most distinguishable characteristics of this mineral.
4. Test for Softness
Unlike with other minerals where you apply the hardness test, with fluorite you should do the opposite.
You should expect the surface to be scratched when you use a pocket knife over it.
This is one of the main reasons why we hardly ever find it used as jewelry.
5. Search for Color Zoning
Due to its fluorescing capabilities, fluorite has the ability to showcase different colors in one cubic crystal.
When you’re in doubt, you should look carefully to see if you can find different colors in the same sample.
Even though its vast difference in colors can be one of the confusing things about this mineral, it does help when you’re uncertain whether you have the right crystal in your hands or not.
It’s always common for larger samples to easily display a band of different colors without difficulty.
How can Fluorite be Confused with Other Materials?
One of the most confusing things about fluorite is that it comes in various colors.
So, it’s easy for you to think that it’s a different crystal.
In most cases, it gets confused with quartz often. The thing is that quartz also comes in various types.
In some cases, you might find purple amethyst quartz.
Similarly, you’re likely to find purple fluorite.
Moreover, these happen to be the most abundant crystals in the world.
Plus, you can find them within the same geographical area.
Knowing how to conduct identification tests on your fluorite should help you to avoid the confusion.
Why is Fluorite Identification Important?
The fact is that this type of mineral is crucial for industrial processes.
For example, it’s used to manufacture various types of glass and for smelting.
Ensuring that its properly identified is important to maintain industry application.
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