Artworks and jewelry have been created from fluorite since ancient times, such as the carved fluorite statues discovered in Crittenden County, Kentucky and shown in Figure 1 [Ref 1]. The statues reflect the Middle Mississippian Culture extending approximately 800 Ad to 1600 AD. The second statue from the left, known as the Tolu Statue is dated to 1150-1200 AD. The fluorite for these carvings undoubtedly came from Southern Illinois and the adjacent region of Kentucky, which were centers of fluorite mining from the early 1800s until 1995.
Another example of art work in fluorite is the beautiful antique carved statue of Quan Lin, the Chinese goddess of mercy and compassion displayed in Figure 2 [Ref 2, Ref 3].
Crafting art works and gemstones of fluorite demanded the artisan’s appreciation of its low hardness of 4 on the Moh Hardness Scale, and its perfect, (and easy) octahedral cleavage [Ref 4], as well as their great artistic skill. For example, faceting the fluorite gemstones, shown in Figure 3, required they determine the orientation of the fluorite crystal to minimize stress along the eight cleavage planes in the crystal, while cutting the stone. Larger artworks were carved or formed using polycrystalline fluorite so that the interlocking of the multiple crystal faces prevented propagation of cleavage while working the art object. Careful examination of Figures 1 and 2, and the artworks in the following figures, will disclose their polycrystallinity.
Cabochons often are formed of banded fluorite for their beautiful display of multiple colors as shown in Figure 4.
GALLERY OF JEWELRY AND ART WORKS – In the following gallery diverse, beautiful examples of artworks and jewelry representing the creative skills of the artisans are presented in Figures 5-16.