• What is a crystal?

    Initially, crystals were called rhinestone - transparent quartz in its cold beauty. In earlier times, when scientists could not yet explain the cause and principle of their formation, crystals were attributed with all sorts of magical properties, as evidenced by numerous legends and tales that mention magic crystals that can heal the sick or show the future. Modern crystal physics has dispelled all this romantic fog, which has long enveloped crystals, and has given a clear definition of what a crystal is from a scientific point of view.

    Crystal - what is it

    A crystal is a solid body of natural origin or formed in a laboratory, having the form of a regular polyhedron. The correctness of the shape of a crystal is based on its internal structure - the particles of a substance from which the crystal is composed (molecules, atoms and ions) are arranged in it in a certain pattern and form a periodically repeated three-dimensional spatial arrangement, otherwise called a "crystal lattice".

    Types and types of crystals

    Scientists engaged in the study of crystals, distinguish concepts such as "perfect crystal" and "real crystal."

    Perfect crystal

    An ideal crystal is a kind of abstract mathematical model of a crystal, in which an absolutely regular shape is attributed to it, corresponding to its crystal lattice, complete symmetry and ideally even edges. Simply put, an ideal crystal is a crystal with a complete set of all the qualities, properties, and characteristics of this type of crystal.

    Real crystal

    A real crystal is one that actually exists. Unlike the ideal, it has some defects in the internal structure, its faces are not perfect, and the symmetry is reduced. But for all these shortcomings, the main property that makes it a crystal is preserved in a real crystal - the particles in it are arranged in a natural order.

    The origin of the crystals

    • Natural (natural) crystals originate and grow in the bowels of the Earth for a long time under conditions of ultrahigh temperatures and enormous pressure.
    • People have learned to grow artificial crystals not only in laboratories, but even at home. By the way, you can learn how to grow salt crystals from a solution of common table salt in our article How to grow crystals from salt.

    Crystalline Substances

    Crystals are not only diamonds, amethysts, emeralds, sapphires and other precious and semiprecious stones, as some of us used to think. In addition to these most famous and beautiful crystals in nature, there are many other substances that have a crystalline structure. The most common substance with the ability to form crystals is ordinary water. How the water crystals look like, even the children of the "snow" and snowflakes are well known to everyone.

    In addition to water, crystals can form many metals, such as copper and iron; salts (copper sulphate, sodium nitrate, aluminum and chromium alum, etc.) or oxides, for example, silicon dioxide is the same crystal that gave the name to all crystals.


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