Amethyst and fluorite are two completely different gemstones, however, both are purple in color and sometimes difficult to tell apart. If the fluorite is almost entirely purple, it can be hard to distinguish the two.
In this guide, let’s explore the differences as well as the similarities between the two as well as ways to tell them apart.
What is amethyst?
Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz that’s prized for its beauty as well as metaphysical properties. The purple is caused by the presence of iron as well as other trace elements. Usually, the darker it is, the more valuable it can be. It’s usually found in geodes or as a single crystal inside volcanic rocks. As the volcano lava cools, it will leave air bubble-like pockets behind, slowly allowing silica-rich fluid in. When this happens, amethyst begins to form, as iron oxide gets trapped in the stone. Most of the amethyst you find will be either used for home decor or jewelry, such as rings, bracelets or pendants.
What is fluorite?
Fluorite, also known as fluorite fluorspar, is a mineral that comes in a variety of colors, from green to blue, yellow, pink and purple. It’s either translucent or transparent and is mainly used as jewelry and decorative items just like amethyst. It typically has a cubic crystal structure and is composed of both calcium and fluoride, usually formed later in the geological process from igneous rocks because of the lower melting point. Geologists will usually find it in granitic pegmatites or in limestone or marble deposits.
What’s the difference between amethyst and fluorite?
Color: Amethyst will be more of a purple, ranging from deep violet to something much paler. Fluorite, however, will be found in a wide range of colors, from purple, green, blue, yellow as well as pink.
Crystal Structure: Amethyst is a type of quartz, which means it will have a hexagonal crystal structure, whereas fluorite will have a cubic crystal structure. Amethyst is often found in larger, single crystals, whereas fluorite will be more of a smaller, interlocking crystal.
Formation: Amethyst is formed when the mineral quartz in the presence of iron, whereas fluorite is formed from the mineral, fluorine, in the presence of calcium. Both are made from different chemical compositions.
Hardness: Amethyst is a 7 on the Mohs scale, whereas fluorite is a 4. If you’re unfamiliar, this scale determines how “scratch resistant” a stone is. The higher the number, the less susceptible it is to scratches. Scratch-resistant stones are often used for jewelry, such as amethyst since they are deemed to be more durable.
Luster: Amethyst will always have a glassy-like luster, while fluorite can be more of a vitreous, resinous, or dull luster.
Mining Location: Since amethyst is so common, it can be found almost anywhere in the world, however, the most common mining locations include Brazil, Uruguay and Zambia. Fluorite, like amethyst, is found throughout the world, but you will find most of your deposits in China, Mexico and some parts of the United States.
Price: Usually, amethyst is a pinch cheaper, mainly because it’s so abundant; however, fluorite isn’t expensive, either. The costs will greatly vary, depending on the size, color and quality. Prices should be similar between the two, but one can be more than the other based on the factors mentioned.
Transparency: Amethyst is almost always translucent to transparent, while fluorite can be transparent, translucent, or opaque.
Uses: Most often, amethyst is used in jewelry, such as rings and pendants, but it can be used for home decor, too. Fluorite is mainly used for decorative purposes, but industrially, it’s used to make lenses and other optical components. It also can be ground down to create fluoride for toothpaste.
Zodiac: Amethyst is the official birthstone of February and is aligned with the Zodiac sign, Pisces, while fluorite isn’t said to be associated with any sign. However, some believe it’s assigned to the Aquarius sign as it’s said to help you mentally grow.
Amethyst is more of a calming stone, which is said to help with your emotional balance. It’s associated with the crown chakra and it’s said to help enhance your spiritual awareness as well as ground you emotionally. Historically, amethyst was known as a protection stone, as soldiers would wear it to war. They even believed it could help ward off drunkenness.
Fluorite focuses more on mental clarity as well as focus. Fluorite is associated with the third eye chakra and it’s said to help enhance your intuition as well as your psychic abilities. It’s also said to have protective properties, chakra balancing as well as help you emotionally heal.
How can I tell the difference?
It’s fairly easy to tell the difference.
First, look at the color. Amethyst will almost be a pure purple, whereas fluorite, as mentioned, will have a variety of colors, which can come in patches. If most of the fluorite is purple, pay close attention to patches and see if you see any different colors, even if it’s subtle.
The crystal structure is a giveaway, too. If you have a microscope, this can make it easier to detect. With purple fluorite, look for a cubic crystal structure, which, as you guessed it, will be crystals shaped like a cube, sometimes will sharp edges. Amethyst, on the other hand, will be more of a hexagonal crystal structure with elongated crystals. If you can see six sides, it’s more than likely amethyst.
A UV light can help, as purple fluorite will always fluoresce under UV light. Amethyst won’t.
In the end, the best way to tell the difference is to look at the fracture/cleavage as well as the crystal shape. Amethyst will always have a glassy fracture and hexagonal shape, whereas fluorite will have cubic crystals and 90-degree cleavage. Simply put, if you see a lot of 90-degree angles, it’s safe to say it’s fluorite.
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