What are Fluorescent Minerals?

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By Tony Mancini                                                                What exactly are fluorescent minerals?  This is a very common question by anybody who has never seen a rock glow and change color.  Many believe the rocks are painted on or some other trick is being done to create this magical effect.  But mother nature is the source of these magical beautiful rocks!  They can be found all other the world and in every state in the USA.  The observation of rocks changing color can date back thousands of years but its only been within the last 75 years we have had tools that can allow us to clearly see what fluorescent minerals look like. 

All fluorescent rocks need some type of external energy for them to produce the color change.  Its also best to see them in the dark.  The reason for this is because visible light masks the fluorescent response created by the rock.   To best simply explain what exactly is going on is fluorescent minerals absorb radiation energy and that absorption is released back from the rock in the form of color.  Over 90% of the rock species that will change color need shortwave ultraviolet radiation or energy below that in order to respond.  The most common form of lights are commonly known as blacklights but black lights do not produce the right amount of UV energy to produce the color response.  Shortwave UV bulbs with special external optical filters produce the desired color change.  The special optical filter blocks the visible light generated by the bulb and allows the shortwave UV to pass onto the rock.  This optical filter is also the main reason why shortwave UV lights are so expensive.  A lot of people try to save money by purchasing a blacklight but quickly realize that they just will not work. 

Fluorescent minerals typically have some type of impurity in them that allows them to glow.  These are referred as activators and manganese is a common activator in fluorescent minerals.  Even diamonds can be fluorescent because of other mineral impurities in them which cause them to glow. Another common question about fluorescent minerals are do metals glow such as gold, silver, iron, copper, etc.? And the answer is no all metals are not fluorescent even is other minerals in the metal are present.  But several mines such as gold and silver mines do have minerals around that are fluorescent.  If a prospector is hunting for a outcrop and finds fluorescent minerals it stands to have a good change some other type of valuable mineral is present.  Examples of such are gold, silver, zinc, and scheelite.

Joining the FMS – Fluorescent Mineral Society www.uvminerals.org

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By Tony Mancini                                                      So you think  Fluorescent minerals cool?  You are amazed by the color changes and are starting to build your own collection.  You show and tell your friends about the cool rocks you have and they stare back at you with that blank stare of huh?!  Not to worry for there is a society of hundreds of active people of all ages living all around the world that are truly passionate about fluorescent minerals. 

Did you know less than .5% of the worlds population know that fluorescent minerals even exist!  Thats right without a shortwave UV lamp almost all  people are not aware that they exist.   While fluorescent minerals are beautiful they serve a very important role in our lives and have even helped saved lives!  How do you ask? Well during WWII when the US joined the war our military needed tungsten to help strengthen our armor and bullets.  Our main supplier of tungsten was China during WWII.  The US was no longer able to receive tungsten from China because Japan would sink all the ships carrying the tungsten to the US.  So a new “gold rush” happened during the war and thousands took to the hills looking for tungsten all across the USA.  Because tungsten also known as scheelite looked like just any other rock prospectors would have to use a shortwave UV light and find the mineral by its bright blue color response in the dark.  Because of this war effort may prospectors became wealthy finding scheelite and helped in the war effect.  This in effect is one of the ways our military was able to produce the right armor and bullets during WWII! 

But I digress if you would like to know more interesting facts and join hundreds of like minded collectors visit uvminerals.org Here you will found images, articles, and a wealth of other information.  The society is a non profit organization and membership is only 20 USD a year to join!  You will receive by monthly newsletters among other benefits episode free gems from the society.  Do join you will be happy that you did!
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Choosing the right UV Lamp

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By Tony Mancini                                                                 Choosing the right Ultraviolet Lamp can seem a bit confusing at first.  Many people associate a Ultraviolet Lamp as a blacklight but this is only a third of the story.  UV light comes in three major wavelengths, shortwave – midwave – and longwave.  Midwave and longwave UV come from the sun and affect our everyday lives.  Shortwave UV radiation is considered dangerous to human’s and animals and our ozone blocks this type of UV from penetrating the earths atmosphere.   Without our ozone layer there would be no life on earth.

For the fluorescent mineral collector we need a shortwave UV lamp.  Over 90% of fluorescent minerals need shortwave UV.  Longwave UV aka “blacklight” does not produce the right type of UV energy to make the rocks “glow”.  So which lamp is right for you?  That basically depends on your budget and desired purpose.  If you are new and on a very limited budget then you choose our most affordable 4 watt shortwave lamp the M12E.  This lamp will allow you to view your minerals in close range but this lamp is not to be considered field lamp.  This lamp does not have enough shortwave UV energy to allow you to hold at waist level and hunt for fluorescent minerals but it is the most affordable.  If you desire to hunt for your own fluorescent minerals you will need our at the very least our M100E.  This shortwave UV lamp can be held at waste level to hunt for fluorescent minerals.  Of which fluorescent minerals can be found all over the earth, a very cool fact considering less than .5% of the earth’s population even know fluorescent minerals exists!  

In conclusion buy what you can afford and remember you need shortwave UV.  The higher the wattage the greater the response  and the further you can be from seeing fluorescent minerals in the dark.  Good luck and happy hunting! find a domain . Netfpacklimdator