Fluorite: Different Colors of Fluorite

Fluorite is the world's most colorful mineral in the world, because of the enormous range of brilliant and even iridescent Colors it displays. Fluorite is the mineral form of calcium fluoride, CaF2. Fluorite belongs to the halide minerals. It crystallizes in isometric cubic habit, although octahedral and more complex isometric forms are not uncommon.

A crystal's colour is dictated by the way light interacts with the chemicals in it, and by how these are bonded in an orderly structure, or lattice. Any impurities that work their way into fluorite's lattice can alter its apparent colour. For example, manganese ions turn it orange.

Fluorite is Allochromatic, meaning that it can be tinted with elemental impurities. It is one of the most varied colored minerals in the mineral kingdom, and the colors may be very intense and almost electric.

The most common colors are purple, blue, green, yellow, or colorless. Less common are pink, red, white, brown, and black. Color zoning or banding is commonly present. The color of the fluorite is determined by factors including impurities, exposure to radiation, and the absence or voids of the color centers.

Fluorite Colors
Why Fluorite Comes in Different Colors. Rainbow fluorite from Saxony, Germany.
Photo: Wittig Minerals

Factors That Influence Fluorite's Color

Key factors responsible for the vibrant spectrum of fluorite

Impurities

While pure fluorite is colorless, tiny imperfections in the crystal's lattice structure play a significant role in its color. These imperfections can be:

Some of the most common impurities that cause fluorite to change color include:

  • Manganese: This impurity causes fluorite to turn brown or black.
  • Iron: This impurity causes fluorite to turn yellow, orange, or red.
  • Copper: This impurity causes fluorite to turn blue or green.
  • Yttrium: This impurity causes fluorite to turn purple.
  • Zirconium: Zirconium impurities can cause fluorite to appear orange or red.

Radiation

Radiation: Exposure to natural radiation, like gamma rays or alpha particles, can also affect the color of fluorite. This radiation can create new color centers or modify existing ones, leading to a wider range of colors and even zoned patterns within the crystal.

Environmental Conditions

Environmental Conditions: The temperature, pressure, and chemical environment during the crystal's formation also play a role in its color. For example, fluorite formed in hydrothermal vents may have different colors than those formed in sedimentary environments.

 


Fluorite Colors and shapes
Fluorite Different Colors and shapes
ZIDAROVA et al. (1978)

Diagram to show the variation of crystal morphology at Nabburg-Wölsendorf as a function of temperature.  Three lines of evolution have been established based on the observation of the fl uorite mineralization at Nabburg-Wölsendorf. They were interpreted in terms of varying temperature gradients and correlated with temperatures for similar fluorite habits.

Rainbow Fluorite

A particularly striking variety of fluorite is "rainbow fluorite," which exhibits multiple colors in distinct bands or zones. This phenomenon occurs when different impurities or environmental conditions are present at different stages of crystal growth.

 Fluorite forms in hydrothermal veins in the Earth's crust and in cavities in sedimentary rocks. Over the centuries, these fissures are constantly opening and closing, sometimes cutting off the fluids needed for fluorite to form. It's the subtle changes in the chemistry of these fluids that causes colour zoning in the crystals as they grow.

Some colors are deeply colored, and are especially pretty in large well-formed crystals, which Fluorite often forms. Sometimes coloring is caused by hydrocarbons, which can be removed from a specimen by heating. Some dealers may apply oil treatment upon amateur Fluorite specimens to enhance luster.

Fluorite Colors
Rainbow Fluorite.
Photo: Joe Kienle

fluorite from Elmwood Mine
Fantastic fluorite on dolomite from Elmwood Mine, Tennessee.
Credit: Anton Watzl

Fluorite
Stunning Fluorite crystal is from a southern Illinois mine.
Photo: Matthew Webb @MineralSpecimen
blue Fluorite
Splendid fluorite crystals with a quartz on them.



Fluorite Colors
Fluorite from Shangbao Mine Hunan Province China.
Credit:  Exceptionalminerals..com
yellow-colored fluorite
Fluorite from Aouli, Morocco.
Photo © Egil Hollund
Blue fluorite balls
Perfect fluorite balls. The fluorite is not treated with oil or water. Collection,
Photo & © Egil Hollund



Amber fluorite
Amber coloured fluorite on quartz from Annaberg-Frohnau, Erzgebirge, Saxonia, Eastern Germany. Photo": © Jesse Fisher
rainbow fluorite
Rare fluorite-slice from Wölsendorf, Bavaria! Collection, photo & © Gerhard Brandstetter
Purple Fluorite
Fluorite and barite. from Guxian, Landkreis Tongbai, Provinz Henan Photo & © Joaquim Callen



Colorless Fluorite
Fluorite type second generation, a combination of the crystal forms of cube and rhombic dodecahedron. Collection, photo & © Andreas Schmid
Green fluorite
Colour intense octahedron fluorite from Riemvasmaak fluorite occurrences, Kakamas District, Northern Cape Province, South Africa.Collection, photo & © Albert Russ




botryoidal Fluorite
A botryoidal Fluorite!  from Guxian, Xinyang Präfektur, Henan, China. Specimen,
Photo & © Roland Noack
Rainbow Fluorite
Polished Rainbow Fluorite from Hunan Province, Hunan Province, China
Rainbow Fluorite
Rainbow Fluorite is just bands of different Colors. Photo by Joanne Dusatko
Rainbow Fluorite
Rainbow Fluorite. Photo by The Crystal Spirit


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