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 seven 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
firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for the opportunity to explain and enjoy
this stone as it is one of nature’s wonders. Have a Great day!!
I want everyone to realize that if they have a chance to cut Tiffany
Thanks to Tom Munson for a great explanation of "Tiffany Stone."
I’ve heard that Tiffany (the jewelry company, that is) has legally
objected to the misappropriation of their name, however. So, here’s
my question: If one doesn’t want to risk calling it "Tiffany Stone,“
what would be the best designation to use? I’ve been calling it
"bertrandite” which, according to Tom’s analysis, is a misnomer;
“opalite” seems like an equivocal name and, besides, I’ve heard it
applied to other materials as well (probably erroneously); “beryllium
opalite” is both incorrect and awkward. That leaves “fluorspar"
which, if it accurately describes the purple part of this rock (which
is, after all, what attracts most of us to it), is the least
objectionable I’ve seen so far. This is the second or third time
I’ve seen a convoluted thread on this material. Why don’t we agree
on an acceptable name for it and spread the word :-)? How does
"fluoropal” or “fluoropalite” sound?
"beryllium opalite" is both incorrect and awkward. That leaves "fluorspar" which, if it accurately describes the purple part of this rock (which is, after all, what attracts most of us to it), is the least objectionable
G’day; I had never heard of Tiffany Stone until this thread came
along. But I do know a purple/blue fluorspar. Among the limestone
formations, potholes and caves of Derbyshire in England there is a
place called Castleton where there is a cave called the Blue John
Mine, where one can find the Blue John rock; a banded, white, and
colourless variety of fluorite which contains film-like inclusions of
petroleum. The rock cleaved easily and one could instantly smell the
petroleum. I obtained some there about 50 years ago as a curiosity.
It wasn’t much use for jewellery being very soft and fragile, and I
was told that the colour was due to the petroleum inclusions. But
there was no beryllium content in the Castleton Blue John. – Cheers
for now, John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of Mapua Nelson NZ
It seems to me that Blue John was worked as far back as the Romans.
I recall a picture of a very thin goblet. But the ancients
stabilized it with something, perhaps a tree resin. And I think that
later lapidarists have stabilized with more modern concoctions.
Concerning “Tiffany Stone”, “Fluorspar” would indicate the color,
perhaps, but give no hint of the good workability of the opalite.
The SiO2 gives it a much better hardness,and is the bulk of the
composition of the stone.
Rose Alene McArthur
As best I can tell, there is no relationship between what is being
called “beryllium opalite” (aka) Bertrandite and the purple/blue
fluorspar (aka Blue John). I have both the purple AND the
yellow/white version of bertrandite and Blue John and there is no
similarity at all. I received some nice chunks of what is called
Bertrandite from a gentleman who apparently worked in the Brush
Wellman facility awhile back and he gave me the following
explanation, “The purple opal is from a beryllium mine in the west
desert of Utah. It is a replacement of limestone nodules in a ash
flow 500 feet under ground and the purple comes from florite as there
are several florite vents in the vicinity. It is florescent under SW,
a brillant green . It has maganese so you have a host of interesting
patterns.” Does any of that help in understanding the relationship
between florite and the purple color? The yellow/white variety he
sent me may well be the pure bertrandite that has no florite in it,
hence it is not purple. The only question that remains then is…is
it truly an opal material?
Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple
elegance IS fine jewelry!
In regards to naming this stone! It becomes a question of proper
geologic terminology ,Beth, because fluorspar is a nameof an ore
mined on its own and is actually fluorite. The mountain range
directly to the East of the Brush Wellman Mine, the only mine in the
world to mine beryllium as an ore and not a beryl crystal called
bertrandite, is SPOR MOUNTAIN. This mountain Range was named after
the Spor Family who marketed and mined Fluorspar to the Steel
industry as a fluxing agent. There are 20-30 volcanic vents on Spor
Mountain full of fluorspar, a very purple powdery fluorite. This is
what gives the opal from Brush Wellman its purple color, fluorite.
If you will bear with me, the opal was formed by three volcanic
events.1.) the first event was volcanic eruptions that laid down an
ash layer and in that ash layer or flow were numerous dolomitic
casts, 2.) the second event was the covering of the ash layer with
Rhylolite, a very silicious material, 3.) the final event was the
flow of Volcanic fluids traveling through the ash hitting the
Rhyolite barrier and causing the dolomitic casts(casts are relict
bedding,invertebrate fossil fragments, and carbonate rock textures)
to be altered with flourite-silica, or more appropriately concentric
zones of calcite, microcrystalline quartz(chalced ony), opal and
fluorite. In those fluids most important was the fluorite form SPOR
Mountain and manganese for it imparted the beautiful colors. If you
have seen many nodules, they may have black rinds or have black in
fractures, this is manganese oxide. Some will have purple rinds and
totally black cores so beware when buying.
My suggestion for a name is “SPOR MOUNTAIN OPAL”. I will send a
nice stone to the best name suggestion. Be creative and certainly
look at my cabs on Ebay to get ideas, tom_munson(seller) under loose
Thank you for the opportunity to comment as I love the
stone, Its color and pattern is like a great painting, and have
researched geologic publications and talked to geologists about their
occurrance. By the way, the mine DOES NOT allow collecting anymore.
So any material you have is going to be considered rare and
valuable. I will gladly send anyone pictures of nodules, cut stones
or slabs, showing color variations and patterns. Be very wary of
buying the material, make sure it is silicated, if it is chalky,
stay away, and if it is too opalized, it will craze. My email at
home is Tmunson@utahis.com, if you have any other questions please
contact me. Peace be with you all and for those of you going to
Tuscon, go to Todd Harris’s booth if you want to see some awesome
Spor Mountain Opal he has cut into Spheres.