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The word crystal comes from the Greek krystallos, which means ice. The Greeks found beautiful quartz crystals in the Alps mountains and believed that they were a form of water frozen so hard that they would never thaw.
Most mineral crystals form in molten rocks. They are created close to each other when magma cools, and they are produced in irregular shapes. Some crystals have a cube shape, while others have triangle shapes. Perfect crystals show straight edges, such as the cubes of salt. However, most crystals do not have perfect shapes. This is due to the fact that crystals grow in confined spaces in the ground and do not have adequate space to form evenly in all directions. Some crystals appear to have straight edges in some parts but rounded or jagged in other areas.
When solutions are completely saturated with mineral components, crystals can begin to form on rock walls, on other crystals, or even on particles of dust. They can grow quickly or slowly and even stop, depending on changes in temperature and the concentration of the solution. During the crystallization process, molecules within the liquid pull together in a pattern. Some crystals, such as emeralds, form when magma cools very slowly. Interesting Crystals Facts: Diamonds and rubies are forms of crystals.
Crystal Shapes: Cubic, hexagonal or trigonal, monoclinic, orthorhombic, tetragonal, triclinic
1. Cubic crystals look like a box and can have 6, 8 or even 12 sides
2. Hexagonal have 3 or 6 sides
3. Monoclinic look like a box with lots of different sides
4. Orthorhombic sort of look like 2 pyramids stuck together
5. Tetragonal look like a cube but have one longer side
6. Triclinic have random shape and most likely aren’t in equal proportions.
I came across some facts about crystals and listed only a few:
1. A person who studies crystals is called a crystallographer.
2. Some living organisms have the ability to produce crystals – I don’t have an example yet, I’m guessing it may be an oyster creating pearls but I’m not sure and will need to research more on this.
3. Almost all crystals have some sort of imperfection where the pattern shape is distorted
4. Crystals grow naturally but they are sometimes produced by scientists in a lab under controlled conditions.
5. Salt crystals forms when water evaporates from a saltwater mixture.
6. A unit cell is what they call the basic building block of a crystal. It’s the smallest arrangement of atoms that shows the crystal structure.
7. Some of the largest natural crystals in the world are found in the Cave of Crystals in Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Crystals vary in size, color, shape and shine depending on the substance it was made of. You can see crystals in jewelry because gems can bear patterns that appear to be gorgeously designed by nature. As such, precious stones like diamonds, rubies and emeralds are set in jewelry. Well-cut diamonds are a type of crystal, and have a clear yet slightly white, almost silvery shine in it.