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Tiffany Stone - Opal Fluorite Beryllium


Tom Munson an Orchid member has just send me a
lovely specimen of Tiffany Stone! Thank you Tom. He also included
description of the material and its availability. I thought to share
it with the group.

The Image:

Tom Munson writes:

“…a description I wrote for the opalite from the west desert of
Utah. It occurs at a Beryllium mine I inspect for the state. I want
everyone to realize that if they have a chance to cut Tiffany Stone,
named so by Todd Harris of Delta, then they should, as it is no more
dangerous than silica, as opal is silica, water and oxygen. If you
are interested in seeing some good examples of the stone cut in cabs
and its beauty then go to my ebay site and search under my name
tom_munson and look at the stones I am selling of Tiffany stone.
under the loose gemstone category. This is not a sales pitch but
merely to show you good examples. Tiffany stone or opal colored by
fluorite,etc. is really dolomitic( dolomite) nodules found in a
volcanic ash replaced by opal and colored by fluorite and maganese.
It occurs in the ore zone of the Brush Wellman Mine west of Delta,
Utah and is a product of a chemically reducing environment gaining
silica from the overlying Rhyolite and the water from Hydrothermal
activity. As an aside, if any of you have cut Beryl, it is 15 percent
Beryllium, don’t worry it is silicated as well! The purple or the
fluorite comes from Spor Mountain fluorite vents, east of the mine,
and the remainder of the elements occur as trace minerals. The
radioactivity is merely typical of the whole Western Utah and is not
harmful. It actually is a benefit since it makes the stone
beautifully florescent under shortwave lamps. The short wave excites
the Uranium ions. It is no worse for you than cutting quartz derived
minerals, i.e. silicosis. It is prudent to wear a mask cutting any
rock!!! The allergy, beryllosis (sp?) ,meaning it affects some
people more than others, but eventually effects everyone, is caused
by cutting the pure beryllium metal and was a product of the WWII
effort since the metal was used as a stragetic metal, bombs and
planes, etc. The ore, bertrandite, is white and nondescrip and is
approximately 1 percent silicated beryllium. It is only found in this
form in Utah. All other beryllium comes from beryl xls. Bertrandite
has to be turned into an oxide, BeO, by the use of a sulfuric acid
floatation process and then and only then can it be processed into
its final form of beryllium metal. Every copper switch in your house
has an alloy of berylium copper as does your computers and cell
phones. It gives the metal strength and temperature benefits. any
futher question please email at Thanks for the
opportunity to explain and enjoy this stone as it is one of nature’s
wonders. …”