a publication of the International School of Gemology 15.May.2013

Fabulous.....FLUORITE???

There are three things I thought I would never see in this industry: (a) receiving gemstone parcels in the US Mail from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, (b) dealing with a US$100 million dollar fraud fiasco involving a member of the feldspar group, and (c) writing a business article on fluorite as a revenue stream for jewelers. These are strange times indeed. However, with this edition of our newsletter all three of these have come true. Perhaps the third is not so strange if we think about it. Fluorite comes in a very unique set of rainbow colors that can contain many of the colors of the rainbow within one stone, as you see at left. In spite of its lack of hardness in a range that is normally accepted for a material to qualify as a gemstone, if set properly in pendants or earrings fluorite can become a major revenue stream if a jeweler just knows how to romance it. Indeed, when the concept was first presented to me I responded: Fabulous....FLOURITE??? But yes indeed, Fabulous Fluorite!
At right is one of the first faceted fluorites that we obtained several years ago. At the time this was faceted just as an oddity. An amusement for a faceter who thought they would test their faceting skill and complete this project just to see if the softness of fluorite would still allow for faceting to be done. As you can see the finished product is a very nice pastel blue color that makes for a lovely gemstone.
Fluorite forms in the cubic crystal system in classic formed cubes as seen in the banner of this edition of our newsletter. However, because of very distinct cleavage planes it can easily be cleaved into octahedral shapes as see at left. These are great teaching specimens and fun for any collector or for demonstration at a sales counter. In fact, these specimens alone can be their own revenue stream as individual crystals in octahedral shapes and larger sizes can sell for US$5 to $30+. Below is a 2 kilo bag of fluorite octahedral crystal that I picked up from a Chinese dealer at Tucson this year. Cost of this 2 kilo bag that has over a thousand crystals was $60.00. Do the math. Revenue Stream!

Gemological Properties

Chemical: CaF2 (calcium fluoride)
Crystal System: Cubic
Refractive Index: 1.434
Specific Gravity: 3.18
Hardness: 4

Fluorite can have very strong fluorescence and a very distinct absorption spectra. However, given the refractive index and color, identification should be quite easy for anyone but the most novice gemologist.

Sales Pitch: If you want to have some fun with the children show them the label on a tube of toothpaste that contains fluoride. Show them that fluoride is a main ingredient to fluorite. They will bug their parents to buy them a crystal if you have them for sale. That...is why I purchased that 2 kilo bag you see above. Revenue Stream!

And of course, fluorite has a high value member in the UK sourced Blue John. This wonderfully rich colored blue fluorite as seen below has a long history of making important jewelry items in British history and society. The color is unique in the world and the jewelry items it produces can put the wearer into the realm of high British society of years gone by. The Blue John specimen slice below I obtained from C. W. Sellors Fine Jewellery at the GJX Show at the Tucson Gem Shows. An amazing specimen of a historically important gemstone that is available to jewellers who want to provide your customers with a beautiful and historically rich gemstone.
No matter where in the world you do business, in this economy any revenue stream is a good revenue stream when it comes to gemstones. While many of us scoffed at the idea of fluorite being a gemstone, the UK has been producing beautiful jewellery items with Blue John for decades...if not centuries. Never discount a gemstone material simply because it is not currently popular. Be the one to create demand and you will be the one to capture the revenue stream.

As someone once said...."I cannot control the wind, but I can adjust the sails". Don't be afraid to go up the mast and adjust those sails of business revenue. The folks right now who are fluorishing are doing so because they are thinking outside the traditional concepts and looking for new revenue streams in new places.

You may never have considered fluorite as a major gemstone revenue stream for your business...but you should keep in mind that for some very successful sellers, they word is: Fabulous Fluorite!

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