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Irradiated Chinese Fluorite?

Posted by Steve Hardinger  
Steve Hardinger December 25, 2018 07:56PM
Numerous Chinese ebay dealers have been offering intensely blue fluorite in large crystals, mostly without specific locality information. Are these natural (I doubt it) or treated (probably irradiated)? See attached.

Yes I know we are not the ebay police. I have no interest in bashing any ebay dealers. I am only curious as to their origin, and if natural, a precise locality.

José Zendrera December 26, 2018 12:12AM
To me it looks natural. Maybe oiled in order to improve brightness and blue color enhanced by cold light and somewhat photoshopped.
BTW, it exists any way to enhance fluorite color? Irradiation is a normal practice in topaz, spodumene and others but I have not read about it in fluorite.
Alix Julien December 26, 2018 03:54AM
I asked myself the same question because lot of Chinese Fluorites are on a matrix of smoked micro-quartz ... (Example: https://www.ebay.com/itm/202542078078)
But that does not necessarily mean that it has been irradiated. It can be natural..
I agree with José: I never heard or read that Fluorite could be colored by irradiation. (although I think there is an impact: see pink fluorite if I'm not mistaken).
We can emit the hypothesis that the crystals of Quartz can be smoked by irradiation in order to most bring out the crystals of Fluorite but it remains to prove..
To see...

In any case yours may not be because I saw the same material with the matrix and the Quartz are not smoked because of the irradiation. (See: https://www.ebay.com/itm/192737621214)
The color is just crazy :)

Wayne Corwin December 26, 2018 04:54AM
Here is a photo of Wise Mine Fluorite from Westmoreland, NH irradiated by Bob Whitmore.
All the clear fluorite turned blue, the quartz crystals turned black, and any green fluorite stayed green,,, no change.

Torben Kjeldgård December 26, 2018 07:49AM
Got some smaller ones of the "blue" fluorite from China, but it seems that they have
been photoshopped, they was not very blue in real life.
Torben Kjeldgård
Keith Compton December 26, 2018 10:19AM
In answer to the other part of your original post, the specimens may be from here:
Manaoshan, Suxian District, Chenzhou Prefecture.
Luca Baralis December 26, 2018 12:04PM
I was musing about the same thing... some specimen are really too blue, but the cheap ones I got are way more pale in color. Probably Photoshop rules! ;-)
I'm also puzzled by some yellow, green and pale blue (on top) quartz specimens. I don't think they are natural.
Look at::

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/2018 12:07PM by Luca Baralis.
Kevin Conroy December 26, 2018 03:14PM
I haven't seen any of these in person, but the color in the photos reminds me of the fluorescence shown by some flourites (Rogerley Mine for instance). I wonder if the photos were taken in natural light with a UV light also in use. If anyone has one/some of these specimens, please check to see if they react to UV light and look like the photos.
Paul Brandes December 26, 2018 04:11PM
I don't believe they are irradiated.
It seems they are the product of creative photography, Photoshop, and a heavy dose of oil.
Mark Heintzelman December 26, 2018 05:34PM
In Alix's example, "the color is just crazy" largely due to photoshop.
Make adjustments for a reasonably natural looking skin tone and you'll see the results of what the specimen actually looks like.

Mind you, this is the super lazy effort at bumping an image. It's really not that much effort to go in and mask out all but the specimen in a photo and mess with the color and saturation in that area alone, so "buyers beware" . . if it's too looks good to be true . . there's a perfectly rational reason for it . . .

Nick Gilly December 26, 2018 09:47PM
Luca Baralis Wrote:
> I was musing about the same thing... some specimen
> are really too blue, but the cheap ones I got are
> way more pale in color. Probably Photoshop rules!
> ;-)
> I'm also puzzled by some yellow, green and pale
> blue (on top) quartz specimens. I don't think they
> are natural.
> Look at::
> https://www.ebay.it/itm/138g-NEW-Find-Rare-Beautif
> ul-Clear-QUARTZ-Blue-Top-Crystal-Cluster-Specimen/
> 202545497953?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid
> =p2060353.m1438.l2649

Maybe this is quartz with dumortierite inclusions?
Luca Baralis December 31, 2018 04:30PM
Nick Gilly Scritto:

> Maybe this is quartz with dumortierite inclusions?

Yes, may be, as I saw only pictures of this stuff. However, again the blue top seems too bright to me, as for most of the fluorite offered. I could be wrong.
Brenton Mah January 04, 2019 07:58AM
A recent Facebook post being circulated has only confirmed that these bright blue to green Chinese fluorites have indeed been irradiated.

The fluorites apparently can derive from any Chinese fluorite locality, but a few of the more common culprits are:
- the large cubic blue-green cubes with thick bevelled edges are actually the pale green Xianghualing Mine fluorites
- the simple cubic, royal blue fluorite cubes on drusy quartz matrix turns out to be those purple/yellow zoned fluorite from Anhui province

This has been suspected for some time but now there has been confirmation. Inexpensive, common Chinese fluorites are being purchased in bulk and subsequently irradiated, nevermind photos with additional color saturation!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/04/2019 08:03AM by Brenton Mah.
Peter Slootweg January 07, 2019 07:54PM
This may be post Brenton refers to. If this is the case, the fluorite on the first photo posted looks to be irradiated.

Reiner Mielke January 07, 2019 09:30PM
I wonder if exposure to sunlight will turn them back?
Greg Dainty January 07, 2019 10:37PM
The facebook thread is very much worth reading, Reiner apparently the irritation has been going on for a number of years. It is suggested some even fade without exposure to sunlight, but there is really no comprehensive info on the extent that material from various sources fade or does not fade.
Christoph Heichert January 13, 2019 04:46PM
From my point of view in the last two years the mineral market, particularly ebay, was flooded with irradiated (commercial 60Co-sourche?), intensely blue fluorite crystals from China. Thereby colour distortion by image processing on ebay is the minor challenge: Reverse photoshopping by fading of e.g. intense rosa hands bearing the item offered is practicable!
Particularly the pristine pale bluish-green dodecahedral fluorites on nearly colourless quartz crystals from the Sanming Prefecture, Fujian Province are pimped up to deep blue on suddenly greyish brown quartz (= faked irradiated quartz crystals from Romania). Moreover by a miraculous way the Yaogangxian Mine, Hunan Province delivers in the recent two years dark blue (not purple with blue phantomes) fluorites associated with deep brown or nearly black smokey quartz crystals combined with the classical paragenesis (arsenopyrite, mica etc.).
Such faked items were even offered by high end mineral dealers at the Munich Shows 2017 and 1018 for exorbitant prices (1000-2000 up to more than 20000 €) but seems to be a shopkeeper.
José Zendrera January 13, 2019 10:40PM
Let me note two details about this Facebook message:
- Compared photos (after/before, up&down) don't look to be the same specimen.
- Does not offer proof or references of his assertion.
To me, without knowing the author, these kind of "news" have not any credit.
I don't say that they are not irradiated, but at the moment there is not any reliable prove of it. As said, pictures are photoshopped, oversaturated, color enanced, etc.
I think it's a matter of "fake images" more than fake specimens.
Brenton Mah January 16, 2019 07:07AM
José Zendrera Wrote:
> Let me note two details about this Facebook
> message:
> - Compared photos (after/before, up&down) don't
> look to be the same specimen.

They're the same type of specimens, and it should be fairly obvious. It's improbable that one is able to have a specimen in its initial state photographed, have it irradiated by the shady person(s) in question, and somehow acquire the exact specimen back in its irradiated state.

But perhaps there is someone who has access to this irradiation method (someone in the gemology industry?) who can test out specimens and see if he ends up with the same results.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/16/2019 07:10AM by Brenton Mah.
José Zendrera January 16, 2019 10:45PM
I just received some samples of the same material that started this thread, sold as "Fluorite on Chrysanthemum Quartz" by some ebay sellers with just China as origin. As expected, color is not so bright as was advertised. Note that quartz is almost clear, only little smoky in a hue of very light grey, but it seems darker due to grey matrix. Nothing to do with the toasted quartz that accompanies treated topaz or spodumene.
On the other hand, the few papers I've been able to find in the net about irradiated fluorite talk about natural irradiation and the resultant color is always purple. Only one mention to gamma-irradiated blue fluorite but without references: http://minerals.gps.caltech.edu/COLOR_Causes/Radiate/index.html.
All in all, I stay in doubt...

Here my samples:

At left, seller's photo. At right my photo under natural light without enhancement.

At left, seller's photo. At right my photo under halogen light without enhancement.

José Zendrera February 12, 2019 01:05AM
Just adding some photos of a bigger specimen of this suspect fluorite. Color is really stunning under sunlight, with a deep electric blue maybe too good to be true... but quartz is almost clear, just very slightly smoked only. If they have been irradiated, treatment has been done in a way that don't seems have an effect on quartz.
14 x 12 x 7 cm
1240 g

Half shadow
Halogen + LED backlit
Russell Grossman February 18, 2019 07:25PM
What are the irradiation effects on calcite. Doesn't it turn red/pink? I have one that has snow white calcite but the deep blue fluorite color. Irradiated?
Bob Harman February 18, 2019 08:48PM
If you are asking whether calcite color can be darkened, lightened, or changed due to irradiation, my answer would be "well, maybe".

As I understand it, some Tri-State District amber colored calcites can have a minor color change after irradiation.
Also, some cleaved colorless calcite can take on a light blue color after irradiation, but intact, uncleaved, crystals did not meaningfully change color.

Of most importance for collectors seems to be the fact that no really meaningful color changes can be imparted to collector calcite specimens after irradiation.

Maybe others know of other more meaningful color changes when considering collector calcites.

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