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Repair of a fluorite specimen?


Is it possible to repair a fluorite mineral specimen by cleaving off a damaged surface layer? The fluorite cubes are 2 to 3 inches wide and are attached to matrix. The whole thing is about the size of a football.

The cubes have been damaged when we were moving. The corner's on several of the cubes are crushed, with fractures visible below the crushed areas.

One thing that seems odd to me is that, given the cubic shape of the fluorite, the fractures are not parallel to the cube faces. Instead, the pieces that would come off from the fractures would form three sided pyramids -- the fracture would be the base and the former corner, where the three faces came together would now be the top -- and the cube would become whatever name goes with a cube with it's corners evenly removed. Maybe an octahedron?

Is the kind of cleavage described above typical of flourite? I read that it has perfect cleavage in four directions, but never really though what the fourth direction would be.

Back to original question: This is only for my own enjoyment, I am not trying to fix the specimen to sell it. The crushed corners look whitish against the purple cubes and I would like to remove the crushed areas. Is this doable, or is the whole cube likely to shatter?

My plan would be to use a sharp (3000 grit, Scary Sharp (tm)) wood chisel and position it just below the crushed area, parallel with the visible fractures, and tap on the chisel with a rock hammer. The chisel should be harder than the fluorite, though I can repair or resharpen the chisel if it gets damaged. It should deliver a thin, localized force to the crystal. I think it will work, but would rather have a damaged specimen than one missing one of the big cubes.

What do you folks think>



From Bob - May 24, 2007 at 15:23:01

Message: 64139

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Bob Keller