Fluorite

Fluorite is an important industrial mineral composed of calcium and fluorine (CaF2). It is used in a wide variety of chemical, metallurgical, and ceramic processes. Specimens with exceptional diaphaneity and color are cut into gems or used to make ornamental objects.
Fluorite is deposited in veins by hydrothermal processes. In these rocks it often occurs as a gangue mineral associated with metallic ores. Fluorite is also found in the fractures and cavities of some limestones and dolomites. It is a very common rock-forming mineral found in many parts of the world. In the mining industry, fluorite is often called "fluorspar."

Fluorite

Physical Properties

Fluorite is very easy to identify if you consider cleavage, hardness, and specific gravity. It is the only common mineral that has four directions of perfect cleavage, often breaking into pieces with the shape of an octahedron. It is also the mineral used for a hardness of four in the Mohs Hardness Scale. Finally, it has a specific gravity of 3.2, which is detectably higher than most other minerals.
Although color is not a reliable property for mineral identification, the characteristic purple, green, and yellow translucent-to-transparent appearance of fluorite is an immediate visual clue for the mineral.


Physical Properties of Fluorite

Chemical Classification Halide
Color Typically purple, green, and yellow. Also colorless, blue, red, and black.
Streak White
Luster Vitreous
Diaphaneity Transparent to translucent
Cleavage Four directions of perfect cleavage
Mohs Hardness 4
Specific Gravity 3.2
Diagnostic Properties Cleavage, hardness, specific gravity, color
Chemical Composition CaF2
Crystal System Isometric
Uses Numerous uses in the metallurgical, ceramics, and chemical industries. A source of fluorine, hydrofluoric acid, metallurgical flux. High-clarity pieces are used to make lenses for microscopes, telescopes, and cameras.


Fluorite Occurrence

Most fluorite occurs as vein fillings in rocks that have been subjected to hydrothermal activity. These veins often contain metallic ores which can include sulfides of tin, silver, lead, zinc, copper, and other metals.
Fluorite is also found in the fractures and vugs of some limestones and dolomites. Fluorite can be massive, granular, or euhedral as octahedral or cubic crystals. Fluorite is a common mineral in hydrothermal and carbonate rocks worldwide.

Uses of Fluorite

Fluorite has a wide variety of uses. The primary uses are in the metallurgical, ceramics, and chemical industries; however, optical, lapidary, and other uses are also important. Fluorspar, the name used for fluorite when it is sold as a bulk material or in processed form, is sold in three different grades (acid, ceramic, and metallurgical).


Sources: Geology.com

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