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Crystals are all around us, but we just might not know where to look. Come and learn about what crystals are, how they are formed, and natural and man-made examples of this amazing substance.

What are Crystals?

When you hear the word crystal, what do you think of? When many people think about crystals, they might think of fancy, sparkly objects like a crystal vase or crystal glassware.

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While some crystals are this way, this isn’t the case for all of them. Crystals are actually all around you, and you probably don’t even realize it. Crystals are just solid forms of matter that have a pattern in their geometric structures, like 3-D shapes. Some crystals are cubes, while others might form as a rectangular prism or a three-dimensional hexagon. Regardless of the 3-D shape, crystals have flat, smooth planes known as faces.

How are Crystals Formed?

Molten rock
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There are many different ways that a crystal can be formed, both in nature and man-made.

However, the different processes all have the same basic concepts. To make a crystal, you will need a hot substance. Next, the substance needs to cool down and become a solid. In nature, crystals might result from the cooling of molten rock, which is the solid form of lava from a volcano that comes from deep inside the Earth’s core. The minerals in the molten rock grow into a crystal. This process is known as crystallization.While this is one way that crystals form, you don’t necessarily need molten rock to create a crystal.

In fact, you can build crystals yourself with just a few simple ingredients: Epsom salt, hot water, and a small bowl. First, you put the salt and water in the bowl and stir the solution until the salt has dissolved. Next, you put the bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours. This will allow the water to cool so that the minerals, which in this case is the Epsom salt, can crystallize. During this process, the atoms in the minerals begin to stick together and form 3-D patterns.

Last, you remove the cooled solution from the refrigerator and scoop out the crystals. You could even add food coloring to jazz it up a bit and get some beautiful, colorful crystals.

Crystals in Nature

Snowflakes are crystals.
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Have you ever been on a crystal hunt? It isn’t as hard as it seems, as there are many different forms of crystals in nature. For example, snowflakes are examples of crystals, as they are crystallized ice. While all snowflakes might look like simple, round shapes as they fall from the sky, they actually have different geometric patterns.

In fact, every single snowflake has a unique structure that is different than the rest.Another popular crystal that is found in nature is called a gemstone, which is a precious stone like a ruby, diamond or quartz. Gemstones are often used in jewelry and can be very expensive. In fact, there is a rare form of red diamond that will cost you around $1 million per carat!

Man-made Crystals

Rock candy
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