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One of the rarest minerals on the planet is found in this Derbyshire hill

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One of the rarest minerals on the planet is found in this Derbyshire hill

Diamonds are among the most appreciated minerals of all, being considered among the most beautiful and rare precious stones in the world. However, strange as it may seem, they are not the ones who have this record.

In fact, diamonds are much more common than we often think and there are even rarer and more precious minerals in the world. An example is given by the Blue John mineral, whose only large deposits are among the hills of Derbyshirein the English East Midlands.

This mineral is actually mainly calcium fluoridewhich like the carbon of diamonds has undergone processes of chemical and physical alteration, due to the diagenetic processes of sedimentary rocks.

For years considered a semi-precious mineral, Blue John was rarely mined, however providing English master craftsmen with the opportunity to create some very beautiful objects, such as a bowl now exhibited at the Casteton Visitor Center.

For years geologists have tried to understand where it came from bluish colourbut recent analyzes have decreed that the particular color of this mineral comes from bituminous inclusions in fluorite, which derive from the chemical alteration of the organic remains of billions of organisms, dating back millions of years.

During the WWI, much of the fluorite present in Derbyshire was extracted as fuel and flux for industrial blast furnaces, but subsequently its extraction was limited only to small excavations, when it began to be considered a valuable mineral. With the death of the last miner (68 years ago) able to trace Blue John’s veins, however the extraction stopped completely, at least until a recent discovery.

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In 2013, some explorers intercepted a new vein within the GRoute of the Witch. Since then the production of Blue John jewelery has resumed and although their cost is lower than that of diamonds (of which the planet is full of them), owning a Derbyshire fluorite ring is much more difficult, given that they have reduced circulation .

If you are also among those who believe that diamonds are the hardest material of all, you should think again. The hardest material in the universe is composed of aggregates of carbon nanotubes, which also maintain extreme flexibility.

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