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The FMS Fluorescent Room
Thursday February 8th - The weather was partly cloudy today with a high of 83 degrees.

This year the Fluorescent Mineral Society is celebrating its 25th anniversary and they really outdid themselves at the Show. I overheard more than one rockhound viewing their displays in the fluorescent room remark that this had to be the fluorescent show of the century. I'm not really one to judge this, but this year's FMS display was by far the finest exhibition of fluorescent minerals I have ever seen. The brilliance of some of the specimens was nothing short of incredible. Several were so bright they actually caused the camcorder I used to overexpose the brightest areas of the image!

The camcorder's CCD is definitely lacking in sensitivity to some of the fluorescent colors and dynamic range compared to the human eye. I'm afraid these grabs just don't begin do some of the specimens justice. Kind of like the difference between looking up at the stars in the night sky from a large city as compared to from out in the middle of the desert. You just had to be there...

One of the first displays encountered as you enter the fluorescent room is some large specimens of willemite and calcite from Sterling Hill, Ogdensburg, New Jersey. This is a very popular material with fluorescent collectors because of the dramatic contrast between the bright green of the willemite and the darker, rich red of the calcite. Some very striking and extremely bright specimens of Sterling Hill willemite with calcite were displayed.

Wollastonite, also from Sterling Hill.

This display featured many different fluorescent materials, all from Franklin, New Jersey. Among them were esperite, hardystonite, willemite, wollastonite, xonotlite, johnbaumite, barite, clinohedrite, margarosanite and manganaxinite. The center specimen in this close-up was not labeled. That's radiating willemite on the left and esperite on the right. Specimens from the Claude V. Poli Collection.

Halite from the Inowroclaw Mine, Poland. Specimen from the Earl R. Verbeek Collection.

Halite from the Salton Sea, California. Those bright green dots in front were opal var hyalite tips on topaz from Topaz Mountain, Utah. I purchased a small piece of some Salton Sea halite earlier at the Treasures of the Earth tent on the strip. This strongly fluorescing halite was exhibited in a number of the FMS displays. Some of the pieces had formed on sagebrush and reminded me of undersea coral for some reason. Hmm... I wonder if there are fluorescent corals?

Why they call it fluorescence. This fluorite specimen is from Cumberland, England. Some fluorites fluoresce so brightly you can see the effect in sunlight; they are green in artificial light but fluoresce so brightly blue in the Sun's longwave UV that they appear dark purple in sunlight.

Tugtupite with sodalite from Greenland. Specimen from the Allen Silverstein Collection.

Mexican calcites. The specimen on the left is from Durango. The specimen on the right is from Leon. These specimens are also from the Allen Silverstein Collection.

An entire case of English fluorites under longwave UV. These specimens in the John Nowak Collection are all from mines and quarries in the Weardale District of County Durham, England. I thought this case was an excellent example of niche collecting. I have some Illinois fluorites that fluoresce, but they are not very bright compared to these. John's specimens sure make for a pretty display when they are shown in a large group like this.

Some very attractive red and purple calcites from Yuma County, Arizona were shown from the Bob Fendrich Collection. I was very interested to learn that Arizona is the origin of a fair amount of fluorescent material and that a rockhound could reasonably aspire to personally field collect a nice assortment of Arizona specimens.

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