Fluorescent minerals have long fascinated me, ever since witnessing the dazzling display of them at the Gillespie Museum at Stetson University. I immediately set out to learn how they produce their otherworldly light and began to slowly add fluorescent crystals to my collection.
So what exactly is fluorescence? It is an optical property where minerals emit light under the right conditions, usually producing a neon glow. Mineral fluorescence is caused by an atomic reaction to certain wavelengths of light (usually ultraviolet light). This causes the electrons orbiting certain atoms to excite in the presence of UV light, creating an instability that is overcome by releasing that energy in the form of visible light.
Fluorescence is part of a spectrum of related optical phenomena. Among these are thermoluminescence (glowing when heated), triboluminescence (flowing from friction or mechanical stress), photoluminescence (glowing in the presence of certain wavelengths of light), and phosphorescence (continuing to glow when the energy source is removed). Tenebrescence, a darkening on exposure to light, is also an interesting phenomenon initiated by UV light.
By transforming invisible ultraviolet radiation into visible light, fluorescent crystals symbolize the ability to reveal the unseen world. They can bring hidden or suppressed energies into view to better assist our own spiritual healing.
Many common gems can be fluorescent, including calcite, fluorite, agate, selenite, opal, amber, ruby, and countless others. This month I’ll be providing a deeper look at the world of fluorescent crystals in my upcoming class. You can join live or catch the replay via Patreon.