Fluorite is used to manufacture cooking utensils, enamels and opalescent glass. Fluorite samples that possess excellent transparency and color are cut into gems or used to create beads and jewelry.
Fluorite has three main types of industrial uses depending on its grade.
Metallurgical grade fluorite is used in iron and steel production. Fluorite is used as a flux to lower melting points of molten metals and remove impurities such as phosphorus and sulfur. Every ton of metal produced requires 20 to 60 pounds of fluorite.
Ceramic grade fluorite is used to make ceramics and specialty glassware. This fluorite grade is used to produce glazes that make surfaces hard, shiny and more durable. Teflon, the non-stick material used on cooking surfaces, is created with materials derived from fluorite.
Acid grade is the highest grade of fluorite and it is used in combination with sulfuric acid to create hydrofluoric acid and hydrogen fluoride. The hydrofluoric acid is then used to create fluorocarbon chemicals, refrigerants and foam blowing agents. Acid grade fluorite is also used in aluminum smelting.
Fluorite has non-industrial uses as well, such as ornamental and optical uses. Fluorite is used to produce collector's edition jewelry due to its four perfect cleavage planes. In optics, fluorite is used in the lenses of microscopes, cameras and telescopes.