Fluorite is a vital non-metallic mineral used by many industrial countries for various applications ranging from making glass, Teflon, steel, and rubber.
However, you need to know how to tell if fluorite is real or fake.
We’ve made this article to help you identify fake fluorite from real fluorite.
However, before we begin, it would help to understand a few vital mineral characteristics.
For starters, identifying the mineral and its core (Fluorspar) is quite challenging and even impossible for some individuals in the market looking to purchase the stone.
Identifying the mineral can also be challenging even with the help of lab equipment because it’s insoluble in various acids and has a relatively stable composition.
The mineral’s chemical formula is CaF2, meaning the mineral is composed of Fluorine and Calcium in equal amounts.
Calcium is easy to chemically and physically identify; however, identifying Fluorine is relatively challenging.
Often, identifying the mineral requires a combination of specific tests and formulas.
However, you could still deduce through clear evidence from direct tests and some reasoning.
This can help you arrive at accurate results on whether the crystal is real or fake.
The most obvious tests you can use to determine the mineral’s legitimacy are its physical properties, including coloration, hardiness, and luster.
However, if you are invested or a hobbyist, you can determine whether the mineral is real or fake by procuring some chemicals and running additional tests for more precise results.
How to Tell If Fluorite Is Real or Fake?
When real fluorite is exposed to ultraviolet light, it glows. The surface of real fluorite has a lot of tiny scratches due to its low hardness. Most fake fluorite is made of glass or plastic. Under UV light, fake fluorite made of glass can have bubbles and does not glow.
Here are seven ways to determine if your fluorite is real or fake.
1. Coloration and Occurrence: Understanding the Relationship
Fluorite’s color is extremely variable, with standard colors ranging from shades of blue, green, brown, purple, white, and even colorless.
Typically, fluorite occurs in sedimentary rocks, hot springs, hydrothermal deposits, and (sometimes) pegmatites.
One way you could check your mineral’s legitimacy is by asking for the stone’s origin and comparing it with its color since it differs across the globe.
Here are some common fluorite varieties and their original occurrences.
- Derbyshire Spar or blue John was once a common but now highly-priced Fluorite variety that naturally occurs in England and has been used for decorative purposes, including making carvings, cases, bowls, etc., in England for over 100 years. The mineral is banded in white and contains various shades of yellow, blue, colorless, reddish brown, and blue. The mineral’s deposits are rapidly depleting and nearing extinction, nearly making it a collectible.
- Missouri also offers various purple, yellow, blue, colorless, and brown fluorite crystals. You can also find some bright green fluorite mineral crystals close to 8 inches wide in Westmoreland, New Hampshire; however, they are highly priced in the current market.
- Another common source of fluorite minerals is the Chamonix area in Switzerland and France. Here you can find octahedral pink fluorite crystals. You can also find some violet-colored fluorite crystals in Illinois and various other vibrant colors.
2. Perform the Scratch Test and Check the Hardness of the Fluorite
Hardness refers to a gemstone’s resistance to scratches.
Crystal structures have different hardness levels depending on their atomic bonding strength.
This is determined by applying pressure on a crystal’s surface with a sample from another material.
For instance, strongly bonded atoms have a higher hardness level than those with weaker bonds.
The second material will leave a scratch or furrow if it has a more complex or stronger bond than the test material.
The scratch or furrow represents millions of broken atomic bonds on a microscopic level.
Thus, the gemstone’s hardness is indicated by its scratchability.
Fluorite rates four on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning that the compound can scratch a copper coin; however, it’ll get scratched when exposed to a pocket knife that typically has a hardness of 5.
You can use the scratch test to determine whether your fluorite is real or fake compared to other imitations like quartz or glass.
Typically, quartz and glass have a higher hardness and can’t be scratched with a knife, while other minerals like gypsum have a low hardness level.
They can easily be scratched with a pocket knife or even a fingernail.
However, there are other tests you can use to determine the mineral’s legitimacy if you aren’t allowed to scratch it.
3. Observe Fluorite Cleavage
Crystals tend to break or form fractures along concrete planes, and looking at this fracture and cleavage-related properties can help you determine whether your Fluorite crystal is real or fake.
The underlying principle regarding this property is related to the crystal’s hardness, i.e., relative bond strengths.
Most mineral crystals have many levels in their crystal structure, some of which have weak atomic bonds.
Most breaks happen along these fault lines causing the crystals to separate along said planes.
Fractures are instances where crystals break in places other than cleavage directions.
Fluorite has a near-perfect octahedral cleavage such that the crystal will readily break along incipient cleavage planes when slightly tapped.
However, the crystal will shatter when struck hard and show a flat, conchoidal fracture that’s shell-like and distinguished with concentric curved lines.
4. Check Fluorite’s Luster
The mineral’s luster is vitreous or shiny, and one way you could check this is by sprinkling its surface with some eater and observing how light shines on it.
You can be assured that the crystal has a vitreous luster if the sun’s rays give it a glass-like appearance.
You can use other means (chemical) to test the crystal’s legitimacy if physical features don’t work.
You can use the list of combined tests mentioned below to identify if the mineral is real.
Doing these tests is vital since the crystal is often falsely advertised or confused with other naturally occurring minerals.
Often, fluorite is confused with quartz, calcite, gypsum, and barite.
You can identify the three using the hardness test; however, identifying calcite is more challenging since it resembles fluorite.
5. Make Sure There Is Proof of Chemical Composition
Fluorite’s cleavage and crystallography closely resemble Calcite’s, making it tough to differentiate between the two minerals based on their physical properties.
One simple property you could use to distinguish the two is calcite’s effervescence when exposed to cold, diluted hydrochloric acid.
Unfortunately, the test can destroy your “Fluorite” if it isn’t real since real fluorite isn’t affected by a hydrochloric acid solution.
On the other hand, calcite reacts with hydrochloric acid to produce vigorous bubbles that create effervescence.
6. Perform the Flame Test
This test can be destructive to your mineral; however, it is efficient when testing for originality.
Fluorite is distinctively luminescent and is known to give off a colored, reddish-orange flame when heated.
This is caused by the calcium contained in the crystal.
Rapidly heating the crystal causes it to crackle and produces a green or blue luminescence when heating continues.
This reaction can not be imitated and thus, can be used to determine whether your fluorite is fake or original.
However, one downside is that you’ll lose the compound.
7. Do the Hammer Test
The chances are that you have various tools with you if you are a collector, hobbyist, or someone that generally has access to tools.
You can use a hammer or some appropriate tool to conduct a test by hitting your fluorite crystal.
However, it would be good to remember that this will probably destroy the crystal.
You can hit the crystal in a dark area and check for blue sparks.
If the crystal produces yellow sparks, then it’s fake.
It means that your fluorite compound was mixed with other crystals changing its physical properties.
Note: The chances are that your fluorite is fake if you don’t get any conclusive positive results after performing all the tests mentioned above.
Generally, the tests mentioned above are pretty conclusive and effective and can be used to detect whether your fluorite crystal is real regardless of its size.
To Summarize: How to Tell if Fluorite Is Real or Fake
Fluorite is quite fragile and can be used to make jewelry because of its brittleness and characteristic cleavage; however, it occurs in varying, attractive colors.
Faceted fluorite crystals are extremely bright but have a low index of refractions because the compound takes a high polish.
Most fluorite crystals are within the blue-green-violet color range.
Pink and chrome-green fluorite crystals from Colombia are rare but quite appealing.
This article provides a list of physical, optical, and chemical properties you can use to identify legitimate fluorite crystals from various common misrepresentations.
The range of test applications spans from novice to advanced hobbyist and includes all types of rock geeks.
There is a chance that you’ll understand and manage to test and determine real or fake rocks by following this article’s instructions.
- Naturally occurs in different colors
- Chemical formula: CaF2
- It has a hardness rating of 4 on the Mohs hardness scale
- Is easily fractured
- It has a vitreous or shiny luster
- Easily fractured
- Burns with a reddish-orange flame
- Produces blue sparks when hit with a hammer
A summary of applicable tests you can conduct to determine if your fluorite is real or fake
- The relationship between coloration and occurrence
- Hardness check
- Observing the gemstone cleavage
- Observing the crystal’s luster
- Checking for proof of chemical composition
- Conducting a flame test
- Conducting a hammer test
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