Laser-excited luminescence spectroscopy of a red-algal, biogenic calcite and a synthetic Mn-calcite can make the distinction between organic and trace-element activators of photoluminescence. Organic-activated photoluminescence in biogenic calcite is characterized by significant peak shifts and increasing intensity with shorter-wavelength excitation and by significant decreases in intensity after heating to ??? 400??C. In contrast, Mn-activated photoluminescence shows no peak shift, greatest intensity under green excitation and limited changes after heating. Examination of samples with a high-sensitivity spectrometer using several wavelengths of exciting light is necessary for identification of photoluminescence activators. ?? 1990.