At last year’s Dallas Mineral Symposium my esteemed and mineral mentor since childhood Terry Huizing presented a lecture entitled “Calcite: the Most Collectable Mineral Species.” It was a wonderful title except except for the first word, which clearly should have been “fluorite” in my humble opinion.
I will respectfully present the counterargument as to why fluorite is actually most deserving of the title “most collectable mineral species” from my perspective as a fluorite collector for the past several decades. I will defer the discussion of the science and geology of fluorite formation and mining to my far more qualified fellow speakers Jared Freiburg and Cal Graeber, however because this is after all a mineral COLLECTING symposium, will complement their presentations by instead focusing on everything about fluorite that inspires one to become a fluorite collector.
By presenting a representative array of fluorite specimens that respectively illustrate each of its many desirable characteristics as a collectable mineral species, I will proffer evidence of fluorite offering the broadest spectrum of color of any mineral species; the greatest variety of contrasting luster and transparency of any mineral species; more intense and complex phantoms than any other mineral species; a broad array of crystal habits including twinning and hoppering; and examples of superb etching and contrasting mineral associations, all of which combine in varying degrees to produce an unmatched plethora of pleasing specimens for mineral collectors.
Although Jim’s professional career has been intensely focused on treating persons experiencing stroke and catastrophic neurological illnesses and advancing neuroscience and stroke care through teaching and research, his most avid passion throughout his entire personal and professional life has been mineral collecting, and in particular fluorite collecting.
In short, although neuroscience has always primarily consumed his mind, fluorite collecting has always primarily filled his heart and soul.