other names: Calcium fluoride, fluorspar, stinkspar
mineral class: Halides
chemical formula: CaF2
Chemical elements: Calcium, fluorine
Similar minerals: /
colour: pure fluorite is colorless
shine: Glass gloss
crystal structure: cubic
mass density: 3,2
magnetism: not magnetic
Mohs hardness: 4
stroke color: White
use: mainly industrial use
General information about fluorite:
fluorite or fluorspar describes a widely used mineral from the group of halides whose appearance is characterized by the conspicuous cubic crystal form. In this case, fluorite can develop both cube-like and octahedral crystals with a pronounced tendency to twin formation. In its pure form, fluorite is colorless and transparent, but it can take on different colors through various admixtures and impurities with iron, chromium, thallium, manganese and other elements. Thus, the crystals may also appear yellow, green, intense purple, almost black, red or in different shades of blue. The effect of UV light or X-ray radiation can be used to cancel or change the colors, which is especially important for the production of fluorite jewelry. All variants of fluorite have in common their shell-like, sometimes also splintered breakage, their glazed shine and their perfect cleavage.
The name of the fluorite comes from the Latin verb "fluere", which means "to flow" and refers to its low melting point. Its ability to liquefy very quickly brought the fluorite also the German epithet Fluidspat. In 1842, the geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs first noticed fluorescent and very pronounced effects, which make the fluorite appear bright violet and blue. The old name Stinkspat, which is common in German-speaking countries, refers to the unpleasant smell of fluorine that the mineral releases when it is struck.
Origin and occurrence:
Fluorite can be either sedimentary or magmatic and usually develops from residual acidic melts. In hydrothermal fissures or corridors, in which different temperature conditions can prevail, fluorite can crystallize out. Often the mineral is associated with topaz, calcite, quartz, pyrite, dolomite, galena or tourmaline.
Fluorite is widespread on all continents of the world and is very common in Europe. Important localities are in the countries of Scandinavia, Greenland, the British Isles, France, Germany, Austria and other countries of Central Europe as well as in almost all countries of Eastern Europe. Also in Japan, China and Korea, in South America, the United States, the Middle East and Australia are important deposits.
Use of fluorite:
Fluorite plays an important economic role as a raw material for the production of optical lenses, as the basis for the production of hydrofluoric acid and fluorine, and in the production of various glasses. Fluorite is also used to produce synthetic cryolite, which is crucial for the extraction of aluminum.
Fluorite is also important as a collector's item and source material for artistic sculptures, vessels and figurines on an international level. From the so-called Blue John, a variety appearing in different shades of blue, which can only be found in the English county of Derbyshire, precious vases are produced, some of which achieve high prices. Due to its low hardness, it is only partially suitable for the production of jewelry. However, in their coloring particularly attractive specimens are cured with synthetic resin and then processed into pieces of jewelry. Because it can easily be confused with emerald and amethyst, fluorite is often used as a material to make imitations of high-priced jewelry.