Want to get GEEKY for a sec?
Oh goody!! Me too!
OK, I always get asked this geo-question:
What are crystals & how are they different from stones + rocks?
For example, what’s the difference between a quartz crystal versus a lapis lazuli stone or a rock that I pick up outside?
1st let me start off by saying that many authors & teachers use the terms “crystals & stones” interchangeably (myself included) b/c its just easier & its common-place.
OK, but let’s have a little science class here. Eeeeeeeee, I feel my nerdy brain cells tingling.
All crystals are minerals, but not all minerals are crystals. So, what’s a mineral?
All minerals follow this mnemonic device: SNIFC
- Solid -at normal Earth temps it occurs in a solid state
- Naturally occurring (unlike man made: strawberry quartz; which is not quartz at all, this is simply a man-made glass, synthetic diamonds, aura quartz, etc.)
- Inorganic (unlike amber, coral, jet or other petrified wood which are organic since they all came from a living thing)
- Formula – it has a chemical formula that never varies (for example quartz’ formula is SiO2)
- Crystalline- its molecules are arranged in an orderly repeating geometric pattern…that’s what “crystalline” means (unlike obsidian, which is a volcanic glass…not crystalline at all)
Crystals are different from stones b/c they have a repeating crystalline molecular pattern which is easily seen in the larger form: fluorite, quartz, garnet…so they look like a crystal!
Some exceptions to this are the cryptocrystalline “stones”. This bunch is made up of such teeny-tiny crystals, that its crystalline structure can only be seen under a microscope: aventurine, chalcedony, agate.
Now, a stone is a mix of various minerals in 1 mass: lapis lazuli, larimar, granite. A stone looks like a stone without those geometric angles, usually smooth or roundish.There are exceptions here but we’re speaking in general.
Of course, we can get much deeper into this but that’s what my course is for. And we do get deeper into but still manage to have fun!
Imagine that. 🙂
Have a Sparkly Day, Sweet One!