What are crystals & how are they different from stones + rocks?

Hibiscus Moon Crystals, science 12 Comments

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.

Lesson #1

All crystals are minerals, but not all minerals are crystals. So, what’s a mineral?

Lesson #2

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)

Lesson #3

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!

dream crystals

Dream quartz. Photo by Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com

clear quartz

Clear quartz

smokey pink lemurian

smokey pink lemurian

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.

green aventurine

Luscious green aventurine tumblies.

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.

lapis lazuli

lapis lazuli



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!



Comments 12

  1. Holy Synchronistsic Timing, Batman!

    Last night, just before falling asleep, I read & was greatly dismayed by this passage in Vivianne Crowley’s The Magickal Life…

    “If lapis lazuli is at a price you can afford, it probably reconstituted and is not thought to have the same qualities as naturally formed stone.”

    Say it ain’t so! Please?

    Lapis lazuli is my fave- & I say that with maniacal enthusiasm. I love it & have found that it influences my dreams like no other, save for “Frank”, my beloved fluorite skull ;O)

    1. Post

      Hey Joanna. That may be the case sometimes with pieces used in jewelry. BUT if it has pyrite in it (as Mediterranean lapis does) then its usually not going to be faked. There are some tests you can do…that’ll have to be another blog post though. 😛

    1. Post
  2. Pingback: What are crystals & how are they different from stones + rocks? - HERBAL HEALTH CENTRAL

  3. Hi, my daughter wants me to find a crystal that will bring me peace,Calm me, and maybe healing as well. Would you be willing to help me out on my quest to find these? Thank you Melody

  4. Hello! I was wondering how to identify polished stones one from another? For example, how can I tell if a blue stone is an agate, sodalite, lapis lazuli, etc.? Or to tell the difference between a quartz, tourmaline, calcite, etc.?

  5. Hi Melody! I just wanted to give a little insight on your question. All stones actually have healing properties. For calming, you can use sodalite or red jasper. Carry a stone in your pocket for a few weeks and remain aware of the differences in your attitude. You could even keep a journal and in your entries you will notice how you react in certain situations to see if it has differed from before. Hope this helps!

  6. Hi is there a difference between green quartz rough rock pieces and green aventurine ? I’ve come across some rough rock green quartz while searching for aventurine they look exactly the same as my large rough aventurine ,when enquiring they said they are just green quartz not aventurine , by sight how can you tell a difference ? As when Google searching it says green quartz rough rock is aventurine ,soooo comfising 🙂

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