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Natures Rainbows - Fluorescent Minerals, Rocks, Luminescence, Fluorescence, and UV Lights

Fluorescent Minerals - Calcite, Fluorite, Zircon, Tugtupite, Leucophanite, Scheelite, Willemite

Fluorescent minerals are often called "Glow Rocks". They glow, or fluoresce, under ultraviolet light and emit longer wavelength visible light (Stoke's shift). Invisible UV light from ordinary black lights, LW LEDs, or shortwave mineral lights cause this fluorescence (also called luminescence).

Typical fluorescent minerals include: aragonite, apatite, calcite, fluorite, powellite, scheelite, sodalite, willemite, and zircon. But almost any mineral can "glow" under UV light with the right conditions. Most pure minerals do not fluoresce  (certain minerals such as scheelite are exceptions). Mineral impurities, called "activators", cause a mineral to fluoresce. Different activators, in varying quantities, along with other impurities (quenchers, such as iron) can make the same mineral fluoresce in different colors, or even not fluoresce at all. The amount/type of activators and quenchers in a mineral usually determines the fluorescent color and brightness. Read more.....

Most mineral collectors are familiar with nature's more common "hidden rainbows" of fluorescent color - But there are hundreds of lesser known species. Nature's Rainbows is all about these fluorescent minerals and their properties.

Fluorite, Willemite, Calcite

Garpenberg, Sweden

Fluorescent Mineral Database
and Photo Gallery

What minerals are fluorescent?
Where are fluorescent minerals collected? (region, mine, state?)


Huge database of high quality photos of Fluorescent Rocks & Minerals are archived in Nature's Rainbows' large gallery. Minerals are listed by name, country/state, and region.  

Longwave UV Fluorescent Mineral Display

Use this database to find fluorescent minerals in your area, or a place you plan to visit.  Use it to help ID minerals, or just enjoy the pretty pics.

Each posting is accompanied by a set of tags that provide the mineral name and the geographical location.  You can sort (filter) the view of the database using these tags in the  mineral or country index. If you are interested in minerals from a specific region around the world use the Region View.

(Four most recent photos)

Classic Fluorescent Mineral - Esperite, Willemite, Calcite, shortwave UV
Learn about Fluorescence

Minerals that "glow" under ultraviolet light are fluorescent minerals. These ultraviolet lights - shortwave, midwave, and longwave - illuminate the fluorescent mineral hobby. White light mineral displays are always well lit with bright lights, offering a beautiful range of colors that makes them attractive to collectors.  But some minerals have a unique property - a hidden rainbow of color that is only revealed using special ultraviolet lights. Though UV light is invisible to the human eye, these special "fluorescent minerals" react to the UV light by releasing visible light, "glowing" in every color of the rainbow. This property is known as luminescence, or fluorescence.  ​

UV Topics Pages -

The electromagnetic spectrum
What is Ultraviolet Light (UV)?

The form of electromagnetic radiation that is most widely used to observe fluorescence is ultraviolet radiation, as generated by a "black light" or ultraviolet lights. Ultraviolet light is that portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that lies beyond the purple edge of the visible spectrum and has wavelengths between 100 and 400 nm.

UV lights are the mainstay of the Fluorescent Mineral hobby.  These lights are used in the field to collect these beautiful minerals and are an essential tool.   UV lights are not only used by hobbyists to find these treasures but have been used by prospectors in the past to find minerals such as  uranium and scheelite - primary ores in high demand (see this blog post for more on radioactive minerals).  In the early days of mining at Franklin NJ UV lights were an essential tool in locating the ore veins.

Learn about UV...


GlowNotes is the Nature's Rainbow Blog - a place with timely content and information about fluorescence, UV, fluorescent displays, mineral lights, and more.  Be sure to check back often as we keep this section fresh and lively.  We post many of the hot topics from the Fluorescent Mineral Facebook Discussion Group here.    GlowNote Blog posts are indexed by topic, including educational, photography, equipment (lights and accessories), minerals, and displays. An index is provided on the GlowNotes Blog main page. 

Check out all the GlowNotes posts!

A Few of our Featured Posts 

GlowNotes Fluorescent Mineral Blog

Ultraviolet (UV) Mineral Lights

UV lights are needed to view our minerals and are the mainstay of the Fluorescent Mineral hobby.  They are used in the field to collect these beautiful minerals, and at home to display them.   UV lights are not only used by hobbyists to find these treasures but have been used by prospectors in the past to find minerals such as the fluorescent minerals  uranium and scheelite - primary mineral ores used for many purposes. 

Read more....

Shopping for a light? Check out the
Fluorescent Mineral Light Review.

Fluorescent Mineral Links

The links page lists web sites, museums, dealers, and others that specialize in fluorescent minerals, and do a great job of it.

Links Page....

Fluorescent Mineral Lights - Shortwave

There are three types of mineral lights commonly used in our hobby: longwave (365nm LW UV flashlights or blacklight), midwave, and shortwave. Some lights have only one wavelength (shortwave usually), others have all three.  Three shortwave lights are reviewed here from UV Systems, Way Too Cool and UV Tools, as they are the most popular lights used by serious enthusiasts.  If you are not familiar with UV and UV lights you can learn more under the UV Topics pages.

Go to the review...

Major shows, meetings, and other events that are important to our hobby are listed on the calendar.  Just click any event for details.  Scroll through the months for future planning.

View the calendar....

Fluorescent Mineral Quick Links

Fluorescent Minerals from New Jersey and Franklin - The fluorescent mineral capital of the world

Fluorescent Minerals from Greenland - The newest major locality for fluorescent minerals

Fluorescent Minerals from Sweden - and the areas around Langban

Fluorescent Minerals from Arizona, USA - Perhaps the most prolific state after New Jersey for fluorescent minerals

Fluorescent Minerals from Afghanistan - More and more becoming recognized as a premiere locality for fluorescent minerals

Fluorescent Minerals from China - A huge country virtually untapped for fluorescent minerals (beyond what shows up as crystals)

Fluorescent Minerals from Australia - The Puttapa Zinc Mine along with a few others has made this an important region for FL Minerals

Fluorescent Minerals from the Southwest USA - One of the most prolific collecting regions in the USA

Fluorescent Minerals of Mexico - Numerous mines produce some spectacular fluorescent specimens

Fluorescent Minerals by State, Country, or Region - Drill down to a specific state or country for fluorescent minerals from only that area

More Filtered View options....

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