Rare-earth fluorides are a class of materials with considerable potential in optical applications. Fluoride lattices typically permit high coordination numbers for the hosted rare-earth ions, and the high ionicity of the rare-earth-to-fluorine bond leads to a wide bandgap and very low vibrational energies. These factors make rare-earth fluorides very useful in optical applications employing vacuum ultraviolet and near-infrared excitation. The preparation of nanometer-sized particles has opened the door for new properties and devices if the performance of their macroscopic counterparts can be conserved in the nanometer regime. However, at small particle sizes, defect surface states and adhering water reduce the optical efficiency. These shortcomings can be reduced by applying protective shells around the luminescent cores, which can also be involved in the luminescent process.