Metal Crystals Photo Gallery

This is pure elemental bismuth, shown in this picture as hopper crystal. It's one of the most beautiful pure elements.
This is pure elemental bismuth, shown in this picture as hopper crystal. It's one of the most beautiful pure elements. Karin Rollett-Vlcek / Getty Images

Did you know metals could grow as crystals? Some of these crystals are exceedingly beautiful and some can be grown at home or in a standard chemistry lab. This is a collection of photos of metal crystals, with links to instructions for growing metal crystals.

Bismuth Crystals

Bismuth is a crystalline white metal, with a pink tinge.
Metal Crystals 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

One of the most incredible metal crystals is also one of the easiest and most affordable to grow. Basically, you just melt bismuth. It crystallizes upon cooling. Bismuth can be melted in a container on a stove top or gas grill. The rainbow of colors comes from the oxidation layer that forms as the metal reacts with air. If bismuth is crystallizes in an inert atmosphere (like argon), it appears silver.

Cesium Crystals

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

You can order cesium metal online. It comes in a sealed container because this metal reacts violently with water. The element melts a bit warmer than room temperature, so you can heat the container in your hand and watch crystals form upon cooling. Although cesium would melt directly in your hand, you shouldn't touch it because it will react with water in your skin.

Chromium Crystals

These are crystals of pure elemental chromium metal and a one cubic centimeter cube of chromium.
These are crystals of pure elemental chromium metal and a one cubic centimeter cube of chromium. Alchemist-hp, Creative Commons License

Chromium is a shiny silver-colored transition metal. It has a high melting point, so this isn't a crystal most people can grow. The metal crystallizes in the body-centered cubic (bcc) structure. Chromium is valued for its high corrosion resistance. The metal does oxidize in air, but the oxidation layer protects the underlying portion from further degradation.

Copper Crystals

Copper crystals
Pure copper may be found in nature.

 HansJoachim / Getty Images

Copper is a transition metal that is easily recognizable by its reddish color. Unlike most metals, copper sometimes occurs free (native) in nature. Copper crystals may occur on mineral specimens. Copper crystallizes in the face-centered cubic (fcc) crystal structure.

Europium Metal Crystals

This is a photo of europium in a glovebox under argon.
Metal Crystals This is a photo of europium in a glovebox under argon. The dendrites in the 300g crystalline sample are readily apparent. Europium is a metal that oxidizes instantly in air. Alchemist-hp, Creative Commons License

Europium is a highly reactive lanthanide element. It is soft enough to scratch with a fingernail. Europium crystals are silver with a slight yellow tint when they are fresh, but the metal quickly oxidizes in air or water. In fact, the element must be stored in an inert fluid to protect it from attack by moist air. Crystals have the body-centered cubic (bcc) structure.

Gallium Crystals

Pure gallium has a bright silver color.
Metal Crystals Pure gallium has a bright silver color. These crystals were grown by the photographer. Foobar, wikipedia.org

Gallium, like cesium, is an element that melts just above room temperature.

Gallium Crystal

This is a picture of pure gallium metal crystallizing from melted liquid gallium.
Metal Crystals This is a picture of pure gallium metal crystallizing from melted liquid gallium. Tmv23 & dblay, Creative Commons License

Gallium is an element with a low melting point. In fact, you can melt a piece of gallium in your hand. If the specimen is sufficiently pure, it will crystallize as it cools.

Gold Crystals

These are crystals of pure gold metal.
Metal Crystals These are crystals of pure gold metal. Alchemist-hp, Creative Commons License

Gold crystals sometimes occur in nature. While you probably won't ever get enough of this metal to grow crystals, you can play with a solution of the element to make the gold appear purple.

Hafnium Crystals

These are crystal of hafnium, one of the transition metals.
Metal Crystals These are crystal of hafnium, one of the transition metals. Alchemist-hp, Creative Commons License

Hafnium is a silvery-gray metal that resembles zirconium. Its crystals have the hexagonal close-packed (hcp) structure.

Lead Crystal

These are electrolytically deposited nodules of lead and a high-purity lead metal cube.
These are electrolytically deposited nodules of lead and a high-purity lead metal cube. The surface of the lead nodules is darkened due to oxidation. Alchemist-hp

Usually, when someone talks about lead crystal they are referring to glass that contains a large amount of lead. However, the metal lead also forms crystals. Lead grows crystals with the face-centered cubic (fcc) structure. Crystals of the soft metal tend to resemble nodules.

Lutetium Crystals

This is a photo of various forms of lutetium.
This is a photograph of a 1 cubic centimeter cube of lutetium metal and several pieces of sublimed lutetium metal dendrites (crystals). Alchemist-hp, Creative Commons License

Magnesium Crystals

Crystals of elemental magnesium.
Metal Crystals Crystals of elemental magnesium, produced using the Pidgeon process of vapor deposition. Warut Roonguthai

Like the other alkaline earth metals, magnesium occurs in compounds. When it is purified, it produces lovely crystals that somewhat resemble a metallic forest.

Molybdenum Crystal

This is a photo of a piece of crystalline molybdenum and a cube of molybdenum metal.
This is a photo of a piece of crystalline molybdenum and a cube of molybdenum metal. The crystalline molybdenum was produced via ebeam remelting. Alchemist-hp

Niobium Crystals

These are crystals of the metal niobium.
Metal Crystals These are crystals of the metal niobium. The central niobium crystal measures 7 mm. Art-top, Wikipedia Commons

Osmium Crystals

This is a photo of a crystal of ultrapure osmium metal.
Metal Crystals This is a photo of crystals of ultrapure osmium metal. The osmium crystals were produced by chemical transport reaction in chlorine gas. Alchemist-hp, Creative Commons License

Osmium crystals possess the hexagonal close-packed (hcp) crystal structure. The crystals tend to be sparkly and small.

Niobium Crystals

Niobium has a bright metallic luster that develops a blue cast when the metal is exposed to air.
Niobium has a bright metallic luster that develops a blue cast when the metal is exposed to air for a long period of time. This photo shows pure electrolytically-produced niobium crystals and a cube of anodized niobium. Alchemist-hp

Osmium Crystals

This cluster of osmium crystals was grown using chemical vapor transport.
Osmium is a brittle and hard blue-black transition metal. This cluster of osmium crystals was grown using chemical vapor transport. Periodictableru

Palladium Crystal

Palladium is a lustrous, silvery-white metal belonging to the platinum group of transition metals.
Palladium is a lustrous, silvery-white metal belonging to the platinum group of transition metals. This is a crystal of purified palladium, about 1 cm x 0.5 cm. Jurii

Platinum Metal Crystals

Platinum is a dense, grayish-white transition metal.
Platinum is a dense, grayish-white transition metal. These crystals of pure platinum were grown by gas phase transport. Periodictableru, Creative Commons License

Ruthenium Crystals

Ruthenium is a very hard, white transition metal belonging to the platinum group.
Ruthenium is a very hard, white transition metal belonging to the platinum group. This is a photo of ruthenium crystals that were grown using the gas phase method. Periodictableru

Silver Crystal

This is a photo of a crystal of pure silver metal, deposited electrolytically.
Metal Crystals This is a photo of a crystal of pure silver metal, deposited electrolytically. Note the dendrites of the crystals. Alchemist-hp, Creative Commons License

Silver crystals are not difficult to grow, but because silver is a precious metal, this project is a bit more expensive. However, you can grow small crystals from a solution quite simply.

Tellurium Crystal

Tellurium is a brittle silver-white metalloid.
Tellurium is a brittle silver-white metalloid. This image is of an ultra-pure tellurium crystal, 2-cm in length. Dschwen, wikipedia.org

Tellurium crystals may be produced in a lab when the element is very pure.

Thulium Crystals

Thulium metal
Thulium metal grows dendritic crystals.

Alchemist-hp / Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Thulium crystals grow in the hexagonal close-packed (hcp) crystal structure. Dendritic crystals may be grown.

Titanium Crystals

This is a bar of high-purity titanium crystals.
This is a bar of high-purity titanium crystals. Alchemist-hp

Tungsten Crystals

These are high-purity tungsten or wolfram rods, crystals and a cube.
These are high-purity tungsten or wolfram rods, crystals and a cube. The crystals on the tungsten rod show a colorful oxidation layer. Alchemist-hp

Vanadium Crystal

This is a photo of bars of pure crystalline vanadium.
Metal Crystals This is a photo of bars of pure crystalline vanadium. Vanadium is a silverish gray transition metal. Alchemist-hp, Creative Commons License

Vanadium is one of the transition metals. The pure metal forms crystals with the body-centered cubic (bcc) structure. The structure is evident in a bar of pure vanadium metal.

Yttrium Metal Crystal

This is a photo of an ultrapure (99.99%) crystal of yttrium metal.
Metal Crystals This is a photo of an ultrapure (99.99%) crystal of yttrium metal. The yttrium crystal, which shows the crystal dendrites, is 3 cm long and has been cast in acrylic. Jurii, Creative Commons

Yttrium crystals do not occur in nature. This metal is found combined with other elements. It's difficult to purify to get the crystal, but it's certainly pretty.

Yttrium Metal Crystals

Yttrium is a silvery rare earth metal.
Yttrium is a silvery rare earth metal. This is a photograph of yttrium crystal dendrites and a yttrium metal cube. Alchemist-hp

Zinc Metal Crystals

Zinc or spelter is a silvery-gray metallic element.
Zinc or spelter is a silvery-gray metallic element. This photo shows a cube of zinc, crystalline zinc from an ingot and sublimed dendritic zinc. Alchemist-hp

Zirconium Metal Crystals

Zirconium is a lustrous gray transition metal.
Zirconium is a lustrous gray transition metal. This is a photo of zirconium crystal bars and a cube of highly purified zirconium metal. Alchemist-hp