Crystals are also known as minerals, from the common rose quartz to the expensive diamond. These minerals are made from a combination of different elements. But where did the original elements come from?
Let's start at the beginning.....After the big bang, massive clouds of hydrogen gathered together and eventually formed themselves into balls. Within these balls the pressure became so intense that atoms fused together creating vast amounts of energy and heat, and so the balls of hydrogen developed in to the first stars. With continuous pressure and heat further elements were created, such as oxygen, helium, nitrogen, lead, iron, carbon and gold. Eventually these first stars died, and some exploded, sending the elements that had been formed through space. With the effects of gravity these elements reformed into further stars and planets. One of which was the planet Earth.
Hematite, a mineral with a very high iron content.
Here on planet Earth, underneath the ground we walk upon, is a crust. This crust is approx. 20-50 miles thick, being at its thinnest under the ocean. Beneath the crust are various layers of swirling molten rock, full of minerals which are made up of all those elements that came here from space in the form of star dust. The crust is constantly shifting, and evidence of this can be felt through earthquakes and tremors, also when a volcano erupts it is this molten rock that spews out.
As the molten rock cools, the minerals, if left unhindered, will develop into a crystal. This is an inorganic chemical process, which occurs when compounds and elements come into contact with each other. Crystals grow in a similar way to pearls, layer by layer, one atom at a time in systems (repeating the same shape) such as cubic, triclinic etc. Formation time varies due to the type of crystal and the conditions, with some crystals taking thousands to millions of years to grow to laboratory grown crystals that form in days.
Brazilian Agate visibly shows the layers of formation.
There are three different types of crystal
IGNEOUS - This type of crystal is formed when the movements of the crust releases the mineral rich gases and liquid from the molten rock. As these gases and liquids cool they crystalize. The quartz family is formed this way.
SEDIMENTARY - This type is formed when igneous rock is eroded by wind and water and the particles are carried away by streams to the sea bed. Beneath the water the particles are compacted and over time reform into rock again. Sedimentary crystals are generally softer and calcite and dolomite are examples of these.
METAMORPHIC - This type of crystal results from existing igneous or sedimentary crystals being subjected to extreme temperatures and pressure, which cause the original composition of the crystal to mutate. Examples of metamorphic crystals are diamonds, rubies and garnets.
So crystals are basically made of star dust, and so are we!
Health and Happiness
Jan - Crystals and Stones