August 26, 2023by Jon Kramer

The Julie Vein

The Julie Vein

Discovering a fluorescent mineral deposit in Ontario


WHO:  George, Julie, Jon

WHEN:  July 9 – 11, 2022

WHERE: North Shore of Lake Superior, Ontario, Canada


It was a cool and rainy day when George, Julie and I drove north into Ontario in search of fluorite crystals at a place we heard about from a fellow geologist at the amethyst mines.  The scenery along the north shore of Lake Superior is both primal and breathtaking.  It was several hours drive from our base of operations at a house in Lutsen, but the weather was sketchy and the driving was easy, so we whiled away the time with tales of adventures far and wide.


We had researched the location on the internet but found little encouragement.  When the highway department improved the old lakeshore road and rerouted it through the woods around Rossport, there was a discovery of pockets which contained nice, gemmy, purple fluorite crystals.  Small, but very attractive.  We hoped to find some new pockets and thus extract crystals for ourselves.


Alas, when we got to the spot, it looked like a bomb had gone off.  The original embankment was completely broken down and the rocks had been pulverized by eager collectors.  Scarcely a trace of fluorite was found anywhere in this mess.  We pounded on a few boulders but the pickings were slim.  I managed to smash my finger with a rock hammer, thus making the trip even more memorable for me.


As field geologists, we knew if a productive vein outcrops in one place, then usually others can be found in the region – maybe not right nearby, but somewhere in the area there was bound to be more.  And, sure enough, after a couple hours trekking around the area, we found some promising veins of fluorite.


Unfortunately, however, they turned out to be massive deposits with no vugs or crystals.  Julie collected a few specimens here to take back, thinking perhaps it was something we could cut and polish.  George and I were disinterested and collected nothing here because there were no crystals.  Finally, as the rain began again, we started the long trip back – across the border into the US – and got back to Lutsen after dark.


We made dinner and talked about the sites and the geology of the area.  We pulled out the pieces we each had collected.  I had a few mangy crystals I’d pulled out of the rubble from the first location, George had a few too.  Julie had her massive vein pieces.  That’s when George pulled out a UV lamp and the world was turned upside down!


Fluorite – as its name suggests – is known for fluorescing in bight colors of blue, green, and purple.  So, it was not surprising when the light hit the few crystals I had and they glowed nicely.  Same thing with George’s specimens.  But when he turned it onto Julie’s pieces, the intensity and variety of colors was unbelievable – It looked like deep blue space, with golden constellations of stars and galaxies and red patches of star nebulas.  We were aghast –  we’d never seen anything like it.  There were only a few pieces that Julie had collected, but each was stunning.


The next day me and George drove straight back 7 hours to the location where Julie had picked up the pieces.  We happily collected a bunch of fantastic, showy fluorescent material from this new discovery – which we named the “Julie Vein” – some of which will be on display at Casa Museo.

The Julie Vein Discovering a fluorescent mineral deposit in Ontario