Fossicking for Fluorite

By John Menadue

While fluorite is not gold, gem or treasure, it is a highly attractive mineral found in almost every colour; a mineral gem fossickers take some interest in and mineral collectors great delight in collecting.

Fluorite is an attractive, collectable mineral composed of calcium fluoride that comes in a wide variety of colours including green, blue, yellow, red, purple and colourless. In fact, fluorite is sometimes referred to as the most colourful mineral in the world but the colourless variety represents the mineral in its most pure form.

Most of the fluorite found by Australian fossickers will be of a uniform single colour although it can also be found multi-coloured, particularly in coloured bands. Fluorite is also called fluorspar and has a distinctive cubic form which basically means that the crystals will form as cubes. The cube shape is the most common although the photograph of the crystal accompanying this article shows fluorite as an octahedron shape. The more common cube shape is thought to have been originally formed at lower temperatures than the somewhat rarer octahedron.

The full article can be found in the May 2010 issue of Gold Gem and Treasure. Subscribe now.

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