HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Fluorite was used as a metallurgical flux as early as 500 B.C. Its name stems from the Latin fluere, meaning “to flow,” alluding to its ability to reduce the melting temperature of metals in smelting processes. Notable sources are China, Russia, England, Mexico, Canada, Peru, and the United States (Kentucky, Illinois, Colorado, Oklahoma).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Fluorite [calcium fluoride, CaF2], pronounced FLOR-ite, crystallizes in the cubic system as well-formed, often-twinned cubes and less often as octahedrons; it also occurs in massive, granular, and botryoidal forms. It has a Mohs hardness of 4.0, perfect cleavage in four directions to form octahedrons, a specific gravity of 3.0-3.2, and is transparent to translucent. Pure fluorite is colorless or white, but impurities impart a wide range of pastel colors, notably purples and greens. Fluorite occurs in several mineralogical environments, including epithermal veins, hydrothermal replacement deposits, carbonatites, granite pegmatites, and contact metamorphic rocks
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: Medieval physicians prescribed powdered fluorite to treat kidney disease and arthritic pain. Modern metaphysical practitioners use fluorite to calm the spirit and mind to prepare for meditation, increase objectivity and concentration, and clarify the decision-making process. Fluorite is mined extensively as the primary source of fluorine and also serves as a metallurgical flux. Massive fluorite is carved into decorative objects.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Fluorite is widely collected for its perfect cubic-crystal development, large crystal size, wide range of colors, and interesting and attractive mineralogical associations in composite specimens.