Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Flourite is the Gemstone of the Week

Flourite has been nicknamed “the most colorful mineral in the world.” It comes in a range of sparkling colors from purple, blue, green, yellow, colorless, brown, pink, black to reddish orange. Intermediate pastel colors can be found in between the colors in some stones, also. Some Flourite is a single color, but most have multiple colors arranged in bands. A now scarce variety of purple blue Flourite, known as Blue John, is found in one of the oldest known localities for the gemstone, Castleton, Derbyshire, England. It is still mined there, but only a few tons per year.
Flourite was first called flourspar. Flourite derives from the Latin noun, “fluo” meaning stream or flow. Flourspar comes from the German “flusse” meaning stream and “spaerstan” meaning spear. It is a relatively soft stone, a 4 on the Moh scale. It is composed of calcium flouride.
Flourite is a widely occuring mineral found in large deposits in many areas of the world. Deposits are found in China, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, England, Norway, Mexico, Kenya, and Ontario, Newfoundland, and Labrador, in Canada. In the United States, deposits have been found in Missouri, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kentucky, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, New Hampshire, New York, Alaska, and Texas. In 1965, Flourite was named the state mineral of Illinois since at that time, Illinois was the largest Flourite producing state in the U.S.. In 1995, the last Illinois mine was closed.
Besides being used as a gemstone, Flourite also has industrial uses depending on which of the three purity grades it is. Metallurgical grade Flourite, the lowest grade has been used a flux to lower the melting point of raw materials used in steel production. Ceramic 
grade, the middle level of purity, is used in making opalescent glass, enamels and cookware. The highest grade, which is 97% pure, is acid grade Flourite which is used to make hydorgen flouride and hydorflouric acid by decomposing the Flourite with sulfuric acid. There is also synthetically grown Flourite which is used instead of glass in some high grade telescopes and camera elements.
When it come to the metaphysical aspect of Flourite, it is believed that Flourite opens pathways of the brain to higher dimensions of light, increases alertness and mental activity and helps in grasping complex and abstract concepts. It is also thought to bring in objectivity and concise thoughts, action and behavior.

These photos show some of the different colors, and the banding of Flourite.

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