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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History


Fluorite from Kandahar, Afghanistan
Photo by Ken Larsen. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G11442-00
Locality Kandahar, Afghanistan
Weight 29.21 ct

Fluorite is calcium fluoride and crystallizes in the cubic system, forming most often as cubes and octahedra. Sometimes fluorite is faceted as gemstones, but mainly for collectors, as the stones are too soft (hardness of 4 on the Mohs scale) and fragile to be used in most jewelry. Fluorite ranges in color from colorless to yellow, brown, orange, green, blue, violet and pink and is typically transparent to semi-transparent with color zoning being very common. Fluorite is a widely occurring mineral, and gem quality specimens are found in many places including: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Norway, Mexico, England, Canada, Kenya, Korea, Pakistan, China, Tanzania, and the United States. This triangular cut 29.21 carat gem is the first fluorite from Afghanistan in the National Gem Collection and displays a beautifully saturated purple color. It was acquired with funds from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation endowment in 2013.


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