Uraninite – Day 12 of the Mineral Advent Calendar

This holiday season, why not get a mineral every day instead of chocolate? Today’s mineral is Uraninite find out more about it below..

As we move towards the 25th of December, the number of shopping days decreases – and you might be out searching for the perfect gift! Sticking with the vintage holidays you might decide to get a vintage festive gift for a friend or loved one and when shopping in antiques stores or vintage fairs there is one thing that is often hard to miss, and that is the lurid yellow-green glassware often called Vaseline Glass (due to it’s similarity to the jelly).

One of the key giveaways about Vaseline Glass (or Uranium Glass) is that it is a bright yellow-green and fluoresces in UV light (image from 1st glass 1st things).

One of the key giveaways about Vaseline Glass (or Uranium Glass) is that it is a bright yellow-green and fluoresces in UV light (image from 1st glass 1st things).

However the interesting thing about this glass and the reason it is such a bright colour, is that it was made with the radioactive element uranium (leading to it’s other name – Uranium Glass), and the uranium came from the mineral Uraninite (also called Pitchblende). Don’t worry – the level of radioactivity is so low that it is generally considered harmless, and some people love to collect this glass for it’s historical value – so it could turn out to be an interesting talking point as a gift for that vintage lover in your life!

 

Bright yellow Uraninite from Wikipedia

Lovely yellow-green Uraninite from Wikipedia

 Uraninite:

Chemical formula: UO2
Colour: Black, brownish-black, greyish, greenish; green-gray (thin fragments)
System: Isometric
Hardness (Mohs): 5 – 6
Can you find it in the UK? Yes

You can find Uraninite in a few locations across the UK, but it is more often found in it's grey-black form.

You can find Uraninite in a few locations across the UK, but it is more often found in it’s grey-black form (from the MinDat website)

Although the radioactive element of Uraninite is not generally often high enough to be dangerous, it is always wise to take precautions with any radioactive mineral. To find out more about the safe handling of radioactive minerals please check this site!

For more information about Uraninite please visit the MinDat website.

One thought on “Uraninite – Day 12 of the Mineral Advent Calendar

  1. Pingback: Sphalerite – Day 13 of the Mineral Advent Calendar | My Patchwork Planet

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