How to Identify you Crystals
For visual learners click here
If you LOVE crystals and are on Instagram there is a small chance that you have come across my account: CrystalzRUS. Yes, I am the man behind the curtain so-to-speak. I have been operating this account now for over two years and just recently breached 70,000 followers which is really exciting!
I originally created this page as I saw a need in the community for an Instagram account to feature local small business. I was surprised to find all of the feature accounts for everything known to mankind with the exception of crystals. And so…CrystalzRUS was born.
Over the years I have had many amazing interactions with both crystal lovers and sellers alike helping them all to network, grow and learn more about the one passion we all had in common: crystals! One question I get asked rather frequently is “Can you help me to identify a crystal I have? I got it a long time ago and I can’t remember what it is.” And if you stick around…I’ll tell you how 😉
Before we get started let’s first explore what is the difference between a crystal or mineral. As defined by Wikipedia:
- A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituents (such as atoms, molecules, or ions) are arranged in a highly ordered microscopic structure, forming a crystal lattice that extends in all directions. In addition, macroscopic single crystals are usually identifiable by their geometrical shape, consisting of flat faces with specific, characteristic orientations. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography. The process of crystal formation via mechanisms of crystal growth is called crystallization or solidification.
- Minerals are distinguished by various chemical and physical properties. Differences in chemical composition and crystal structure distinguish the various species. Within a mineral species there may be variation in physical properties or minor amounts of impurities that are recognized by mineralogists or wider society as a mineral variety.
In a brief explaination both crystals and minerals form from magma, which is found in the Earth’s core. As the magma moves closer to the Earth’s crust it begins to cool which cause the atoms inside to condense, moving closer together until it solidifies and forms crystals. This process is also called crystallization. Another way they can form is from when water can evaporate from a mixture, again causing the atoms to move together, solidifying and forming.
There are many different techniques to prospecting crystals (if your really interested to learn more about that Ill be mentioning later a site that you’ll want to check out). One way is finding what’s called a ‘pocket’ in the ground. This is simply that, a pocket, or collection of crystals that have formed underground. Bigger pockets would be called caves or caverns which is probably more common for anyone who has ever toured a cave to explore.
Currently there are over 5,000 known crystals and minerals on Earth. This number grows on the daily. As a matter of fact doing a quick Google search as of Jan. 18th 2019 a geology research publication announced scientists have found an ‘outer space’ mineral inside a gemstone in Israel. The dark-colored new mineral, called Carmeltazite, was formed by the eruption of some volcanoes along the Carmel crest some time during when dinosaurs were prowling the land, geologists say. My point is THERE IS ALOT OF FREAKIN’ CRYSTALS OUT THERE!!!
I will get the most friendly people asking me if I can identify their crystal. Sure, send me over a picture and let’s check it out. *Takes a sip of tea* Now you know I love ya’ll! But that half blurry picture with bad lighting that your thumb in the way, lookin’ like you took the picture with a disposable camera from back in 1995 you know damn well I can’t tell what the heck I’m looking at! And even if I COULD tell what I’m looking at there’s over FIVE THOUSAND kinds of gems and minerals how am I to identify this!? I know you mean well, so let me help you out…
Here is a website that I want you all to check out:
This is the Mineralogical Society of America. They have ALL kinds of useful tools from education to outreach, publications, meetings and interest groups. Even more importantly they can point you in the right direction to find a Mineralogist in your area. There is a long list of tests the Mineralogist will put your gemstone or mineral through in order to identify what is it. Not only can they identify the crystal for you but they will also be able to tell you how old it is and where in the world it originated from.
There are also other mineral groups such as the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies, Friends of Mineralogy and the American Geosciences Institute are just to name a few. You can even get involved in meetings and learn more about gems and minerals in your area and even learn how to prospect for them as well as I mentioned earlier. h
If you’re a visual learner make sure to check out my video here