Natures Rainbows - Fluorescent Minerals, Rocks, Luminescence, Fluorescence, and UV Lights
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.
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.
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.
Fluorescent mineral photography is a challenge. People (and cameras) usually take pictures of well-lit scenes and rarely have to worry about overexposing an image. When photographing fluorescent minerals the game is changed dramatically. The camera now has to capture vividly glowing, saturated colors in a dark room. Cameras just aren't designed to do this.
The Basics, Where to Find Them, and How to Collect Them: Rock collecting is a pretty easy hobby to get into - buy a hammer, find a pile of rocks, and you're rock collecting. Fluorescent mineral collecting is a little more complicated. But folks are drawn to our hobby without even having learned how to collect white light rocks - the wondrous colors and glowing rocks draw folks like a moth to flame.
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.
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.
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.
A Few of our Featured Posts
GlowNotes Fluorescent Mineral Blog
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.
Shopping for a light? Check out the
Fluorescent Mineral Light Review.
The links page lists web sites, museums, dealers, and others that specialize in fluorescent minerals, and do a great job of it.
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.
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.
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
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