All About Crystals: The Science & More

What are crystals?
Crystals are naturally occurring mineral formations with a highly ordered atomic structure, resulting in their distinct geometric shapes and patterns. They are formed through a slow process of repeated crystallization, where minerals precipitate and accumulate over time, under specific environmental conditions. Crystals come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and shapes, and are often admired for their beauty and unique characteristics. In addition to their aesthetic qualities, crystals are also believed to have spiritual and healing properties, and are used in a variety of alternative therapies and practices.

crystal group picture

The 4 main types of crystals:

  1. Covalent crystals: These crystals are like a tight knit group of atoms, bonded together with the strength of a family bond. They hold each other close and tightly, forming incredibly hard and strong structures like diamonds. They are like a fortress, impenetrable and unbreakable.
  2. Ionic crystals: These crystals are like a dance between two partners, a positive ion and a negative ion, attracted to each other by an electric charge. They hold each other close, but not too close, and form structures like salt crystals. They are like a delicate balance, held together by the attraction of opposites.
  3. Metallic crystals: These crystals are like a community of atoms, all sharing electrons and creating a network of connections. They are like a web of trust, where every atom has a role to play and works together to create something bigger than themselves. They form structures like gold or silver, shiny and reflective like a mirror.
  4. Molecular crystals: These crystals are like a collection of molecules, each with its own shape and size, coming together like a puzzle. They hold each other loosely, forming structures like ice crystals or sugar crystals. They are like a dance party, where every molecule is invited to join and they all come together in a beautiful pattern.     

The 7 families of crystals:

  1. Cubic crystals: These crystals are like a perfectly shaped box, with equal sides and angles. They are like a solid foundation, stable and symmetrical, and can be found in structures like salt or diamonds. They provide a sense of order and stability, like a strong and reliable support system.
  2. Tetragonal crystals: These crystals are like a stretched out box, with two sides longer than the other two. They are like a bridge between the cubic and orthorhombic families, combining stability and asymmetry. They can be found in structures like zircon and scheelite, and represent a balance between symmetry and flexibility.
  3. Orthorhombic crystals: These crystals are like a slightly tilted box, with unequal sides and angles. They are like a flexible foundation, able to adapt to different situations and orientations, and can be found in structures like topaz and barite. They represent a sense of adaptability and versatility, able to bend and shift while remaining stable.
  4. Monoclinic crystals: These crystals are like a twisted box, with one corner tilted out of place. They are like a unique and unconventional structure, able to find stability despite their irregular shape. They can be found in structures like gypsum and azurite, and represent a sense of creativity and innovation.
  5. Triclinic crystals: These crystals are like a freeform shape, with no symmetry or equal angles. They are like a chaotic and unpredictable structure, able to find stability through sheer force of will. They can be found in structures like turquoise and labradorite, and represent a sense of unpredictability and unconventionality.
  6. Rhombohedral (or trigonal) crystals: These crystals are like a stretched out triangle, with three equal sides and angles. They are like a balancing act, able to find stability despite their asymmetry. They can be found in structures like calcite and dolomite, and represent a sense of harmony and balance.
  7. Hexagonal crystals: These crystals are like a six-sided prism, with equal sides and angles. They are like a repeating pattern, able to form complex and intricate structures like quartz and beryl. They represent a sense of rhythm and harmony, able to create beauty and complexity through simple repetition.

What is the difference between the 4 types of crystals and the 7 crystal families?
The main difference between the types of crystals and the crystal families is that the types of crystals refer to the way the atoms or molecules are bonded together, while the crystal families describe the geometric shapes that the crystals can take.

crystal cluster formation

Where can crystals be found?
Crystals can be found in a variety of natural and synthetic settings. In nature, crystals can form within the Earth's crust, deep beneath the surface in magma chambers or veins, or on the surface in evaporating bodies of water. Natural crystals can also be found in rock formations such as geodes or inclusions in minerals. Some crystals, like diamonds, are formed under intense heat and pressure over millions of years.
Crystals can also be synthesized in a laboratory setting, often for industrial or scientific purposes. Synthetic crystals can be made using a variety of methods, such as crystal growth from a solution, vapor deposition, or high pressure and high temperature treatments.
In addition to these natural and synthetic settings, crystals can also be found in everyday objects such as jewelry, electronic devices, and even in some types of foods. For example, sugar and salt are examples of everyday crystals that we use in cooking and baking.
Overall, crystals can be found in a diverse range of settings, both natural and synthetic, and play an important role in many areas of science, technology, and everyday life.

Where can I hunt for crystals?
Crystal hunting is a popular activity for many people, and there are several places around the world where individuals can go to hunt for crystals. These locations can range from mines and quarries to natural formations and bodies of water.
One popular destination for crystal hunting is the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas, USA. The area is known for its clear quartz crystals, and visitors can go to designated sites to dig for crystals themselves. Another popular location for crystal hunting is Herkimer County in New York, where Herkimer diamonds (double-terminated quartz crystals) can be found.
In addition, there are also many mines and quarries around the world that allow visitors to hunt for crystals. Some mines even offer guided tours, providing visitors with information about the different types of crystals found in the area and the mining process.
It is important to note that crystal hunting may not be legal in all areas. It is important to obtain any necessary permits and follow any rules or regulations in place to protect the environment and the natural resources.

amethyst crystal geode

Why are crystals so expensive?
Crystals can be expensive due to a combination of factors, such as their rarity, quality, and demand. Some crystals are found in limited quantities or only in certain locations, making them difficult to obtain and driving up their price. The quality of the crystal, including its clarity and color, can also impact its value. In addition, the mining, cutting, and polishing process can be labor intensive and costly. Finally, the perceived healing or spiritual properties of crystals can create a high demand, further increasing their price.

Why do people love crystals so much?
People love crystals for a variety of reasons, including their natural beauty, perceived spiritual properties, and potential healing properties. Crystals are unique, captivating gems that can enhance meditation and promote positive energy. From a visual perspective, crystals are often admired for their stunning colors and unique shapes. Each crystal is distinct, with its own special features and characteristics that make it a true work of art and in many instances they serve as decorative items. Their natural beauty can inspire a sense of wonder and awe in those who behold them. The appeal of crystals is diverse and personal, as each person may have their own reasons for being drawn to these fascinating and mysterious gems.

Are there any scientific studies supporting the healing properties of crystals?
Scientific studies exploring the healing properties of crystals are still limited, but some research has provided interesting insights. For example, studies have shown that certain crystals, like quartz, possess piezoelectric properties, generating electrical charges when subjected to pressure. This phenomenon suggests a possible interaction between crystals and the body's electromagnetic field.

Additionally, crystals have been found to affect the crystalline structure of water, which plays a vital role in our bodies. Some studies suggest that crystal infused water may carry the energetic properties of the crystals, potentially influencing our well being.

While these findings offer intriguing glimpses into the science behind crystal healing, it's important to note that more research is needed to fully understand and validate the therapeutic effects of crystals.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading this informational article about the basics of crystals. Look out for our upcoming article about the different crystals and their perceived healing and spiritual properties.