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Formula:   CaF2   mineral photo

Click to see a larger image

Crystal:   Isometric  
Hardness:   4  
Spec. Gr.:   3.18  
Streak:   N/A  
Cleavage:   Perfect octahedral  
Location:   Grimsel Alps, Switzerland  

Fluorite forms in cubes and octahedra, and easily twins. It was used in jewelry by ancient Egyptians and for carving vases by ancient Greeks and Romans. Fluorite is a common mineral and is found in huge quantities. It is used commercially as a raw material for glass, chemical, and nuclear industries. Fine pink crystals are rarest and therefore are most collectable. The best pink crystals are found in the Swiss and French Alps. Fluorite was well known to the ancient Romans. After conquering Matolia and Pontus about 40 BC, Pompey returned to Rome proudly displaying his booty, which included six 'murrhine' cups (a stone variously believed to be feldspar, fluorite or jade).

Bibliography: Bancroft, Peter, Gem and Crystal Treasures, 1984, pg. 381-385.

University of California, Santa Barbara—Department of Earth Science
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