Uncommon Fluorescent Calcite from the Elmwood Mine, Carthage, Tennessee

Every so often, a common location will produce a very uncommon specimen. The Elmwood mine, a zinc mine located in Carthage, Tennessee, is best known to collectors for producing beautiful display quality golden twinned calcite crystals and purple fluorite specimens in combination with metallic sphalerite. These specimens typically show little or no fluorescence under UV, so the Elmwood mine is not generally regarded as a source of fluorescent minerals. The specimen presented here is an exception, and shows that the Elmwood can occasionally produce high quality fluorescent minerals.

This specimen consists of honey-colored scalenohedral calcite crystals on a base of massive red-brown sphalerite. This is a small piece, measuring 58 x 56 x 36 mm. As can be seen in the following photographs, the calcite shows a beautiful multi-colored, multi-wavelength fluorescent response under UV.

As shown in the photograph above, the calcite shows a beautiful orange fluorescent response under short wave UV (254 nm). The sphalerite matrix is not fluorescent under UV.


Under mid wave UV (302 nm), striking pink-magenta fluorescence is seen. The calcite shows the brightest response under this wavelength.


The long wave UV (365 nm) response, shown above, is very similar to that seen under short wave UV.


Under visible light, the honey-colored calcite scalenohedrons contrast aesthetically against the red-brown sphalerite matrix.

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