Fluorite — one of November mascot stones

Our next publication in the column "Stone Mascot of the Month" is about November fluorite (also called fluorspar). Pure fluorite is colourless and transparent in both visible and ultraviolet light, but impurities usually make it a colourful mineral. Several colours can be combined in one crystal: violet, green, white, yellow — almost all colours possible in the world of minerals, and they all mix and alternate, creating an unusual pattern. The mineral has had different names in different countries over the centuries. In Saxony, it was called "Erz Blume" ("Ore Flower"). The magical shimmer of the stone was associated with mysticism. Miners in Bavaria also encountered this unusual mineral in mines, but it was unsightly in appearance — the colour was black, earthy in places, and the hue was violet. It was also fluorite, but it was called by the not at all poetic name "Stinkend Holm", i.e. "Stinking Spar". As soon as the stone was split by the blow of a pickaxe, the whole place was filled with an unpleasant odour.

The alchemists of the Middle Ages wrote their works in Latin. At that time, fluorites had a frightening name: "Lapis diaboli", which means "Devil's stone" in Latin. When heated, the mineral emits a poisonous, foul-smelling gas and glows. The mystery of the Devil's Stone only became clearer during the Renaissance. The discovery was made by a German scientist, considered one of the fathers of mineralogy, who gave the mineral its current name, Georgius Agricola (1494-1555), birth name Georg Pawer or Bauer (from German: Bauer — "peasant".  After numerous experiments, the scientist proved the fact that crushed fluorite added to metallurgical furnaces significantly accelerated the melting of ore and lowered flowing temperature. Fluorite, when added to the ore, turned the slag into a viscous and swampy substance, thanks to which the mixture was freely detached from metal. This peculiarity of the mineral gave Agricola the idea to name the gem fluorite, which means fluid, fluctuating.

In 1852, fluorite gave its name to the phenomenon of fluorescence — after exposure to ultraviolet light, the crystal itself begins to emit light, glowing in the dark. This happens with fluorites due to certain impurities in the crystal.

Fluorite serves as a "stand-in" for other gemstones due to its similarity in appearance. In fact, it is quite difficult to distinguish fluorite from precious stones such as amethyst, sapphire, emerald, topaz. The rich color palette of fluorites is similar to the shades of many natural gems. Some varieties of fluorite are even called "false amethyst" or "false emerald". Fluorite coloring is associated with impurities of chlorine, iron, uranium or defects in the crystal structure of the mineral. There is no other mineral in the world that has so many colors. It can be green, yellow, orange, blue and bright blue, white and almost transparent, brown, as well as pink, violet and black-purple and have the most unexpected shades. Even in a single crystal, the color can be heterogeneous, for example, merging from emerald green to deep violet or even containing all the colors of the rainbow.

With its versatile physical and chemical qualities, fluorspar is widely used in various fields of human activity, ranging from applications in manufacturing (glass, ceramic, cement, metallurgical, nuclear industries) to medicine (homeopathic medicine calcium fluoride) and magic. Valuable crystals are also widely used in the production of fluorite lenses and light traps. Their main advantage is their ability to reflect infrared and ultraviolet rays.

The mineral belongs to semi-precious stones. In jewelry, it is used to make bracelets, pendants, beads, caskets, vases, figurines and so on. The mineral is rarely used as insert in jewelry, only for making "fake" rubies, emeralds, amethysts and other precious stones. It is very easy to recognize a fake, it is enough to run a shard of glass over the surface of the insert and a deep trace is left on the surface.
Fluorite crystals are not expensive and valuable — the supplies are huge all over the world. The main deposits are located in Germany, Turkey, Italy, Mongolia, Norway, North America, Central Asia, Russia (in Chita region, Primorsky Krai, North Caucasus and Yakutia). Jewelry and collector's item material is mainly fluorite of Chinese origin.

The mineral has long been considered a powerful magical tool that can help in a variety of life situations. It is believed that an amulet made of this stone reveals in a person a source of creative energy of unprecedented power.

On the cover: Fluorite bowl, Peter Muller, Brazil, last quarter of the 20th century

Objects in which fluorite was used in the "Lapidary works of Art" section of the museum Collection:

Three Hummingbirds, Peter Muller, Brazil, last quarter of the 20th century
Hummingbirds, Peter Muller, Brazil, last quarter of the 20th century
Nectar Feeder, Erwin Klein, Germany, Idar-Oberstein, circa 1982
Birdie, Manfred Wild, Germany, Idar-Oberstein, the 20th century
Birdie, Manfred Wild, Germany, Idar-Oberstein, the 20th century
Parrot Ara, Peter Muller, Brazil, last quarter of the 20th century
Birdie, Manfred Wild, Germany, Idar-Oberstein, 20th century