Minéraux fluorescents


The crystal is full of cracks and fractures due to metamictisation. Zircon is practically always 'doped' with some thorium and/or other radioactive elements. The decay of these atoms generates highly energetic, ionizing radiation that is capable of destroying the structure of the crystal in their vicinity. Therefore zircons are rarely found as clear, gem-quality crystals. The mineral's outer shape is preserved but the appearance becomes opaque and dull. According to 'Fluorescence : Gems and Minerals Under Ultraviolet Light', by Manuel Robbins, trivalent rare earths, particularly dysprosium, praseodymium, and europium, are suspected in this fluorescence. Since dysprosium is associated with similar yellow fluorescences, it seems to be the favorite candidate. (Thanks to Doug Mitchell)

ZIRCON, Matongo, Burundi
UV courts / short-wave UV
collection et photographie © Axel Emmermann
Courtesy of the
MKA (Mineralogische Kring Antwerpen)