This week I'm bringing you a gemstone that has a variety mined in very small quantities in my home country England! Now, you can't say that about many gemstones! In fact, can you name any?
Let me help you with this one. This gemstone is found in a variety of colours and has a very special trick up its sleeves (if it had sleeves!)........it glows!!
"So what is this gemstone?" I hear you cry. It's the fabulous Fluorite! This lovely gemstone ranges in colour from near colourless to black but you'll mainly find it as purple, blue, green and yellow, and often with some banding. The type found in England, mined in Castleton Derbyshire, is a purple-blue and white banded variety called "Blue John" (shown below).
In 1852, the phenomenon of fluorescence was named after fluorite as it was one of the first fluorescent minerals ever to be studied. The fluorescent colours of fluorite seem to depend on where the gemstone was mined but the most commonly seen are blue, yellow, green red and purple. Some fluorite glow different colours depending on whether the UV light is short wave or long wave.
Below is a photograph I took at the Natural History Museum in London this year. They have a cabinet with many different gemstones that fluoresce, here is the fluorite:
I think this is stunning! And so did the Ancient Egyptians. They carved fluorite into statues and scarabs, while the Chinese have used it in carvings for over 300 years. The Ancient Romans believed that drinking alcohol from vessels carved from fluorite would prevent drunkeness! It is said to absorb and neutralise negativity and should be kept in every room of the house. It is also known as the "Genius Stone", increasing concentration and aiding decision making.