Crystal Photo Gallery

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Crystals of Elements, Compounds, and Minerals

Quartz crystals, variety Amethyst, Virginia, USA. Specimen courtesy JMU Mineral Museum
Quartz crystals, variety Amethyst, Virginia, USA. Specimen courtesy JMU Mineral Museum. Scientifica / Getty Images

This is a collection of photographs of crystals. Some are crystals you can grow yourself. Others are representative pictures of crystals of elements and minerals. The pictures are arranged alphabetically. Selected images show the colors and structure of the crystals.

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Almandine Garnet Crystal

Almandine Garnet from the Roxbury iron mine, Roxbury county, Connecticut
Almandine Garnet from the Roxbury iron mine, Roxbury county, Connecticut. John Cancalosi / Getty Images

Almandine garnet, which is also known as carbuncle, is an iron-aluminum garnet. This type of garnet is commonly found in a deep red color. It's used to make sandpaper and abrasives.

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Alum Crystal

Boric acid (white) and Alum (red) crystals.
Boric acid (white) and Alum (red) crystals. De Agostini / Photo 1 / Getty Images

Alum (aluminium potassium sulfate) is a group of related chemicals, which can be used to grow naturally clear, red, or purple crystals. Alum crystals are among the easiest and quickest crystals you can grow yourself.

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Amethyst Crystals

Amethyst is the name given to the purple form of quartz or silicon dioxide.
Amethyst is the name given to the purple form of quartz or silicon dioxide. Nikola Miljkovic / Getty Images

Amethyst is purple quartz, which is silicon dioxide. The color may derive from manganese or ferric thiocyanate.

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Apatite Crystal

Apatite crystal from Cerro de Mercado Mine, Victoria de Durango, Cerro de los Remedios, Durango, Mexico.
Apatite crystal from Cerro de Mercado Mine, Victoria de Durango, Cerro de los Remedios, Durango, Mexico. Matteo Chinellato - ChinellatoPhoto / Getty Images

Apatite is the name given to a group of phosphate minerals. The most common color of the gemstone is blue-green, but the crystals occur in a number of different colors.

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Aragonite Crystals

Crystals of aragonite.
Crystals of aragonite. Jonathan Zander
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Natural Asbestos Fibers

Asbestos with muscovite.
Asbestos fibers (termolite) with muscovite, from Bernera, Inverness-shire, England. Specimen photographed at the Natural History Museum, London. Aramgutang, Wikipedia Commons
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Azurite Crystal

Azurite mineral specimen.
Azurite mineral specimen. Matteo Chinellato - ChinellatoPhoto / Getty Images

Azurite displays blue crystals.

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Benitoite Crystals

These are blue crystals of the rare mineral benitoite.
These are blue crystals of the rare barium titanium silicate mineral called benitoite. Géry Parent
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Beryl Crystals

Hexagonal aquamarine crystal of emerald (Beryl)
Hexagonal aquamarine crystal of emerald (Beryl). Harry Taylor / Getty Images

Beryl is beryllium aluminium cyclosilicate. Gemstone-quality crystals are named according to their color. Green is emerald. Blue is aquamarine. Pink is morganite.

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Bismuth

Bismuth is a crystalline white metal, with a pink tinge.
Bismuth is a crystalline white metal, with a pink tinge. The iridescent color of this bismuth crystal is the result of a thin oxide layer on its surface. Dschwen, wikipedia.org

Pure elements display crystal structures, including the metal bismuth. This is an easy crystal to grow yourself. The rainbow color results from a thin layer of oxidation.

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Borax

Borax is sodium tetraborate or disodium tetraborate.
This is a photo of borax crystals from California. Borax is sodium tetraborate or disodium tetraborate. Borax has white monoclinic crystals. Aramgutang, wikipedia.org

Borax is a boron mineral that produces white or clear crystals. These crystals form readily at home and can be used for science projects.

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Borax Crystal Snowflake

Borax crystal snowflakes are safe and easy to grow.
Borax crystal snowflakes are safe and easy to grow. Anne Helmenstine

White borax powder can be dissolved in water and recrystallized to yield stunning crystals. If you like, you can grow the crystals on pipecleaners to make snowflake shapes.

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Brazilianite with Muscovite

Crystals of brazilianite with muscovite.
Brazilianite crystals with muscovite from the Galilea mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Specimen photographed at the Natural History Museum, London. Aramgutang, Wikipedia Commons
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Brown Sugar Crystals

Crystals of brown sugar, an impure form of sucrose.
Crystals of brown sugar, an impure form of sucrose. Sanjay Acharya
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Calcite on Quartz

Pink globular calcite crystals on quartz from Guanajuto, Mexico.
Pink globular calcite crystals on quartz from Guanajuto, Mexico. Specimen photographed at the Natural History Museum, London. Aramgutang, Wikipedia Commons
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Calcite

Calcite crystal.
Calcite crystal. Christophe Lehenaff / Getty Images

Calcite crystals are calcium carbonate (CaCO3). They are generally white or clear and can be scratched with a knife

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Cesium Crystals

This is a high-purity sample of cesium crystals.
This is a high-purity sample of cesium crystals maintaining in an ampule under an argon atmosphere. Dnn87, Wikipedia Commons
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Citric Acid Crystals

This is a photo of magnified crystals of citric acid, viewed under polarized light.
This is a photo of magnified crystals of citric acid, viewed under polarized light. Jan Homann, Wikipedia Commons
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Chrome Alum Crystal

This is a crystal of chrome alum, also known as chromium alum.
This is a crystal of chrome alum, also known as chromium alum. The crystal displays the characteristic purple color and octohedral shape. Ra'ike, Wikipedia Commons

The molecular formula of chrome alum is KCr(SO4)2. You can easily grow these crystals yourself.

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Copper Sulfate Crystals

These are large, naturally blue crystals of copper sulfate.
These are large, naturally blue crystals of copper sulfate. Stephanb, wikipedia.org

It's easy to grow copper sulfate crystals yourself. These crystals are popular because they are bright blue, can become quite large, and are reasonably safe for kids to grow.

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Crocoite Crystals

These are crystals of crocoite from the Red Lead Mine, Tasmania, Australia.
These are crystals of crocoite from the Red Lead Mine, Tasmania, Australia. Crocoite is a lead chromate mineral that forms monoclinic crystals. Crocoite may be used as chrome yellow, a paint pigment. Eric Hunt, Creative Commons License
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Rough Diamond Crystal

Rough diamond embedded in black rock.
Rough diamond embedded in black rock. Gary Ombler / Getty Images

This rough diamond is a crystal of elemental carbon.

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Emerald Crystals

Emerald, silicate mineral, beryl. Be3Al2(SiO3)6.
Emerald, silicate mineral, beryl. Be3Al2(SiO3)6. Paul Starosta / Getty Images

Emerald is the green gemstone form of the mineral beryl.

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Enargite Crystals

Enargite crystals on a sample of pyrite from Butte, Montana.
Enargite crystals on a sample of pyrite from Butte, Montana. Eurico Zimbres
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Epsom Salt or Magnesium Sulfate Crystals

Magnesium sulfate crystals (dyed green).
Magnesium sulfate crystals (dyed green). Copyright (c) by Dai Haruki. All Rights Reserved. / Getty Images

Epsom salt crystals are naturally clear, but readily allow dye. This crystal grows very quickly from a saturated solution.

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Fluorite Crystals

Fluorite or fluorspar is an isometric mineral composed of calcium fluoride.
Fluorite or fluorspar is an isometric mineral composed of calcium fluoride. Photolitherland, Wikipedia Commons
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Fluorite or Fluorspar Crystals

These are fluorite crystals on display at the National History Museum in Milan, Italy.
These are fluorite crystals on display at the National History Museum in Milan, Italy. Fluorite is the crystal form of the mineral calcium fluoride. Giovanni Dall'Orto
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Fullerene Crystals (Carbon)

These are fullerene crystals of carbon. Each crystal unit consists of 60 carbon atoms.
These are fullerene crystals of carbon. Each crystal unit consists of 60 carbon atoms. Moebius1, Wikipedia Commons
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Gallium Crystals

Pure gallium has a bright silver color. The low melting point makes the crystals appear wet.
Pure gallium has a bright silver color. The low melting point makes the crystals appear wet. Foobar, wikipedia.org
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Garnet and Quartz

Sample from China of garnet crystals with quartz.
Sample from China of garnet crystals with quartz. Géry Parent
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Gold Crystals

Crystals of gold.
Crystals of gold. Matteo Chinellato - ChinellatoPhoto / Getty Images

 The metallic element gold sometimes occurs in crystalline form in nature.

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Halite or Rock Salt Crystals

Close-up of rock salt or halite crystals.
Close-up of rock salt or halite crystals. DEA/ARCHIVIO B / Getty Images

You can grow crystals from most salts, such as sea salt, table salt, and rock salt. Pure sodium chloride forms beautiful cubic crystals.

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Heliodor Crystal

Heliodor crystal specimen.
Heliodor crystal specimen. DEA / A. RIZZI / Getty Images

Heliodor is also known as golden beryl.

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Hot Ice or Sodium Acetate Crystals

These are crystals of hot ice or sodium acetate.
These are crystals of hot ice or sodium acetate. Anne Helmenstine

Sodium acetate crystals are interesting to grow yourself because they can crystallize on command from a supersaturated solution.

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Hoarfrost - Water Ice

Frost crystals on a window.
Frost crystals on a window. Martin Ruegner / Getty Images

Snowflakes are a familiar crystalline form of water, but frost takes other interesting shapes.

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Insulin Crystals

Ultra-pure insulin crystals 200X magnification.
Ultra-pure insulin crystals 200X magnification. Alfred Pasieka / Getty Images
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Iodine Crystals

These are crystals of the halogen element, iodine. Solid iodine is a lustrous blue-black color.
These are crystals of the halogen element, iodine. Solid iodine is a lustrous blue-black color. Greenhorn1, public domain
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KDP or Potassium Dihydrogen Phosphate Crystal

This is a potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KDP) crystal, weighing almost 800 pounds.
This is a potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KDP) crystal, weighing almost 800 pounds. The crystals are sliced into plates for use in the National Ignition Facility, which is the world's largest laser. Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLNL, US DOE
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Kyanite Crystals

Kyanite, silicate.
Kyanite, silicate. De Agostini / R. Appiani / Getty Images
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Liquid Crystals - Nematic Phase

Nematic phase transition in liquid crystals.
Nematic phase transition in liquid crystals. Polimerek
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Liquid Crystals - Smectic Phase

This is a photograph of liquid crystals as viewed through a polarizing microscope.
This photograph of magnified liquid crystals shows the crystals' focal-conical smectic c-phase. The colors result from photographing the crystals under polarized light. Minutemen, Wikipedia Commons
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Lopezite Crystals

Potassium dichromate crystals occur naturally as the rare mineral lopezite.
Potassium dichromate crystals occur naturally as the rare mineral lopezite. Grzegorz Framski, Creative Commons License
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Lysozyme Crystal

Lysozyme Crystal
Lysozyme Crystal. Mathias Klode
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Morganite Crystal

Rough morganite crystal.
Example of uncut morganite crystal, a pink gemstone version of beryl. This specimen came from a mine outside of San Diego, CA. Trinity Minerals
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Protein Crystals (Albumen)

Albumen crystals, SEM
Albumen crystals, SEM. STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SPL / Getty Images
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Pyrite Crystals

Pyrite, Colorado
Pyrite crystals. Scientifica / Getty Images

Pyrite is called "fool's gold" because its golden color and high density mimic the precious metal. However, pyrite is iron oxide, not gold. 

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Quartz Crystals

Quartz
Quartz. Science Photo Library / Getty Images

Quartz is silicon dioxide, the most abundant mineral in the Earth's crust. While this crystal is common, it's also possible to grow it in a lab.

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Realgar Crystals

Red realgar mineral from Romania.
Red realgar mineral from Romania. Matteo Chinellato - ChinellatoPhoto / Getty Images

 Realgar is arsenic sulfide, AsS, an orange-red monoclinic crystal.

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Rock Candy Crystals

Rock candy is clear unless food coloring is added.
Rock candy is clear unless food coloring is added. Claire Plumridge / Getty Images

Rock candy is another name for sugar crystals. The sugar is sucrose, or table sugar. You can grow these crystals and eat them or use them to sweeten drinks.

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Sugar Crystals (Close Up)

This is a close-up photograph of sugar crystals (sucrose).
This is a close-up photograph of sugar crystals (sucrose). The area is about 800 x 500 micrometers. Jan Homann
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Ruby Crystal

Ruby is the red crystalline form of the mineral corundum.
Ruby is the red crystalline form of the mineral corundum. Melissa Carroll / Getty Images

Ruby is the name given to the red variety of the mineral corundum (aluminum oxide).

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Rutile Crystal

Geminated rutile crystal from Bazil.
Geminated rutile crystal from Bazil. Matteo Chinellato - ChinellatoPhoto / Getty Images

Rutile is the most common form of natural titanium dioxide. Natural corundum (rubies and sapphires) contain rutile inclusions.

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Salt Crystals (Sodium Chloride)

Salt crystal, light micrograph.
Salt crystal, light micrograph. Pasieka / Getty Images

Sodium chloride forms cubic crystals.

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Spessartine Garnet Crystals

This is a specimen of spessartine garnet crystals from Fujian Province, China.
Spessartine or spessartite is manganese aluminium garnet. This is a specimen of spessartine garnet crystals from Fujian Province, China. Noodle snacks, Willems Miner Collection
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Sucrose Crystals Under Electron Microscope

Sucrose crystals, SEM.
Sucrose crystals, SEM. STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / Getty Images

If you magnify sugar crystals enough, this is what you see. The monoclinic hemihedral crystalline structure can be seen clearly.

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Sulfur Crystal

Sulphur crystal.
Sulphur crystal. Matteo Chinellato - ChinellatoPhoto / Getty Images

Sulfur is a nonmetallic element that grows beautiful crystals ranging in color from pale lemon yellow to deep golden yellow. This is another crystal you can grow for yourself.

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Red Topaz Crystal

Crystal of red topaz at the British Natural History Museum.
Crystal of red topaz at the British Natural History Museum. Aramgutang, Wikipedia Commons

 Topaz is a silicate mineral found in any color.

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Topaz Crystal

Topaz crystal from Thomas Range, Juab Co., Utah, USA.
Topaz with beautiful crystal form. Matteo Chinellato - ChinellatoPhoto / Getty Images

Topaz is a mineral with the chemical formula Al2SiO4(F,OH)2). It forms orthorhombic crystals. Pure topaz is clear, but impurities can tint it a variety of colors.