Fluorite

March 11, 2021

The unique eccentricities of flora and fauna contribute, although sometimes only minutely, to the circle of life on our amazing planet. Volcanic activity, tectonic movement and meteoric impacts tremendously affect the landscape and climate, disrupting, editing and even abolishing entire species and civilisations. Our planet has, over billions of years, successfully proven its ability to regenerate, rebuild and re-inhabit itself with new life.

Quietly, in the background the formation of crystals and gemstones has been consistent and, even with a cyclical flourishing of life, some of the Earth’s crystals have been here the entire time, undisturbed, fully formed and patiently waiting... But why do crystals exist and where do they sit in the grand process for our planet’s success? Humans have been resourceful, using crystals as a mineral source for industrial and medical uses, but I’d like to think their ultimate purpose is for adornment and admiration in beautiful crystal jewellery.

Fluorite is a mineral that has shown us time and time again how useful and important it is to us, both chemically and sparkly speaking. Sometime referred to as Fluorspar, Fluorite is calcium fluoride (CaF2), is an important source of fluorine and is used in many chemical, ceramic and metallurgical processes. From tooth paste to high-octane fuels there seems to be a multitude for uses for this resource aside from the bling of Fluorite jewellery.

A vitreous lustre when polished but with a MOH hardness of just 4, caution must be taken when wearing Fluorite jewellery, especially fluorite rings to ensure minimal surface scratches. Transparent to opaque and found typically in yellow, green, purple and a range of banded varieties, Fluorite may also be blue, brown, orange, red/pink and colourless. Each shade is caused by colour centres involving various elements. This colouring process occurs when there is a defect with the regular arrangement of atoms within the crystal lattice that creates a vacancy – either due to a misplaced ion (and an unpaired electron taking its vacancy) or due to the displacement of an electron.

Banded material typically forms in masses, displaying complex patterns that are a record of the subtle changes in the chemistry of the fluids from which the crystal form. This material is often carved into ornaments or cut into cabochons for fluorite pendants, rings and earrings. Specimens with exceptional clarity and colour are faceted into brilliant gemstones if not simply preserved in their natural form to showcase and admire.

A mineral that is widely collected and traded, Fluorite has always had a presence in Made in Earth’s gemstone jewellery collection. Bunny Bedi, owner and designer at MIE, has always favoured large, lustrous faceted green Fluorite.

“Large, green, affordable faceted stones over 30 carats are hard to come by. Fluorite can have remarkable clarity and colour and available in sizes up to and over 100 carats in wide varying hues of green. Not without its own set of pitfalls, Fluorite is tricky to set as extreme heat and pressure can destroy a stone in seconds.”

“I’ve always sourced fluorite from China and have recently obtained a grand collection of faceted stones in both green, blue and banded purple/green. They’ve piqued the interest of our regular clients who don’t often see this mineral in crystal jewellery.”

Do you ever feel like even though you’re a cube on the outside you’ve always been an octahedron on the inside? Well, that’s exactly how it feels to be Fluorite.

Forming in some of the most wild and extraordinary crystal specimens of brightly coloured, lustrous geometric crystals, Fluorite mostly expresses itself as cubes; either singular, clusters or interpenetrate twins. Very rarely will an octahedron form in nature but oh, they sure do like to cleave in this way. Fluorite exhibits perfect cleavage in 4 directions, parallel to octahedral faces. When a hard, fine point impacts the surface the material will naturally favour to split along these specific crystallographic planes of weakness. This is common practice for Fluorite masses to produce small, interesting octahedral crystals.

A noteworthy mineral with a split personality, Fluorite has more to offer than meets the eye. This gem has secrets hidden within that can benefit human-kind for as long as we exist. With so many beneficial qualities here at Made in Earth we love assisting our clients find the perfect piece of Fluorite ring, earrings or pendant to adorn themselves in for many years to come.

 

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