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Collecting Fluorescent Minerals

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Collecting Fluorescent Minerals
Revised & Expanded 2nd Edition
By Stuart Schneider
Schiffer Books (2010)
ISBN: 978-0-7643-3619-5

Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - March 12, 2015

Collecting rocks and minerals is a fun and educational hobby for both children and adults. One area of collecting that some collectors focus on, is the collection of minerals that fluoresce under specific wave-lengths of ultraviolet (UV) light. In Collecting Fluorescent Minerals: Revised & Expanded 2nd Edition, Stuart Schneider provides a concise explanation of what fluorescent minerals are, tips on finding and collecting fluorescent minerals, and advice on selecting and using a mineral lamp. The bulk of this book is, however, devoted to a 'mineral gallery' that contains more than 850 color photographs of rocks containing fluorescent minerals. The images show the rocks under natural light, then under UV light, which highlights the fluorescent minerals in the rock. Each primary illustration comes with the name or names of the fluorescent minerals in the rock, information on its composition, and sometimes tips on identifying the minerals in questions. A size is also given along with a price range for the value of the given specimen.

In the realm of mineral lamps, Schneider explains the difference between filtered short wave (SW) and long wave (LW) ultraviolet (UV) lights. He has also included several handy charts that list the colors various minerals (from specific locations) show up as under both SW and LW light. Some minerals only fluoresce under SW light, others only under LW lights, and a few under medium wave (MW) lights, and some under all three! MW lights are not as common, and Schneider only touches upon them in passing.

Fluorescent minerals, and the rocks that contain them, can be found the world over. However, for the purposes of this book, in the sections dealing with finding and collecting fluorescent minerals, Schneider concentrates primarily upon the Franklin and Sterling Hill Mines in Sussex Country, New Jersey. According to the text, most of the fluorescent minerals in the world are/were found at these two locations. Best of all, both of these open up their 'dumps' to rock collectors (for a fee). A few other mines and collecting locations that he mentions, albeit in lesser detail are the Mont Saint-Hilaire and Oka areas in Quebec, Canada, the Purple Passion Mine in Wickenburg, Arizona, and Balmat in St. Lawrence County, New York. He also touches upon some common fluorescent minerals that can be found in Arizona, California, and Mexico such as trona, hanksite, benitoite, hyalite opal, chalcedony, fluorite, scheelite, zunyite, and many more. There is also a short chapter, by Mark L. Cole, on collecting fluorescent minerals in Greenland!

While the text in this book is informative, the real value in this book is not the informational sections of the book, which take up about 31 pages at the beginning of the book and another six at the end, but it is the 170 pages in the middle where the photos are located. These pictures will go a long way in helping you learn how to identify the fluorescent minerals that you might already have in your collection, or that you might acquire down the road.

Collecting Fluorescent Minerals is essential reading for anyone just venturing into the exciting realm of collecting minerals that fluoresce. It will not tell you everything there is to know about the subject, but it does offer you an affordable introduction to fluorescent minerals and it provides a solid foundation upon which to explore this subject in greater detail.

Here are a few links, from our resource lists, that will help you learn more about fluorescent minerals:
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