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Standard Crystal Glossary

This is our standard crystal glossary of terms that discusses the geological words we use in our descriptions. This is by no means comprehensive, but more to cover the words we use on the site to describe our crystal friends.

Banding

The presence colour zoning lines, or “bands”, in some minerals.

Botryoidal

When a minerals surface resembles a cluster of grapes or is like round bumps. Also known as globular.

Crystalline

1) Having a crystal structure.
2) Composed of visible crystals.

Crystal System

Describes the internal structure of a crystal or how the minerals bond to create the crystal you see.

Druzy / Drusi

Tiny crystals that cover a specimen almost like glitter

Isometric (crystal system)

A crystal system where all three axes of them are equal in length and lie at 90° from the other. (A cube!)

Inclusion

Materials that are trapped inside a mineral as it is forming. This can be other minerals, dirt, air bubbles, even other crystals.

Japanese twin

Where two single Quartz crystals are joined by the their base at a near 90° angle.

Phantom growth

When a crystal grows and stops growing, then a new growth forms over the old crystal in the same direction, leaving a shadowing of the previous growth within the crystal. Additional growth may be present, leading to more than one phantom in a crystal.

Piezoelectric

When something generates an electrical charge under stress or pressure. Many crystals like Quartz generate electricity when held.

Sceptre

Crystal deformity (to geologists), where the top part of a prismatic crystal protrudes and is wider than the rest of the crystal. So you have a bulbous top and a skinny body.

Stalactites

Icicle-like formations on the roof of caverns, created when mineral-rich water drips down from the roof and the dissolved mineral accumulates into the icicle-like formation.

Stalagmites

Tall-domed formations on the bottom of caverns, built up from mineral-rich water that deposits the dissolved mineral on the floor, growing upwards.

Termination

The end of a crystal or its tip

Tumbled

When a crystal is placed in a tumbling machine (tumbler) which smoothes and polishes mineral to enhance its lustre. Rocks and minerals can also be naturally tumbled in a fast-flowing stream or river for a long period of time.

Twin

Two or more crystals that inter-grow along side each other.

Vug

A cavity in rock that is lined with crystals. A vug, forms when air pockets form in cooling magma and allow crystals to form in the hollow area.

Zoning

Where a crystal displays different colours in distinct sections / layers / zones.

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