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Healing Crystals Glossary

Healing Crystals Glossary

Healing Crystals Glossary

Here is a healing crystals glossary of the terminology used when describing the characteristics of various crystals and gemstones, along with some examples.






 A-Z of Crystal Terms

Adamantine    Lustre found in transparent minerals which produces a brilliant bright shine. Example Brazilianite.

Adularescence    Blue/white ghostly reflective appearance, due to structural abnormalities or a build up of water, term derived from the feldspar variety Adularia. Examples Moonstone and Opal.

Aggregates    The grouping together of crystals. Clusters are examples of aggregates.

Amorphous    No definite crystalline structure or shape. Examples Obsidians and Opals.

Anhydrous    No water molecules are present in the chemical structure. Example Angel Wing Anhydrite (Anhydrite is the mineral Calcium Sulphate) also see Hydrous.

Asterism    A star-like formation of concentrated light, which are inclusions of tiny, slender parallel fibres of minerals which reflect light. Examples found in Ruby and Diopside.

Aventurescence    The “glistening” effect of reflective minerals such a Hematite, Pyrite and Goethite. Derived from the word Aventurine. Examples Aventurines and Greenlandite.

Botryoidal    Globular aggregates with a smooth rounded surface that form and appear to be strung together, and which can resemble a cluster of grapes. Examples Smithsonite, Hemimorphite and Malachite.

Brecciated    Meaning broken and derived from the rock formation known as Breccia, a sedimentary rock formed though weathering of layers of minerals and organic substances which result in rock fragments being cemented together in a fine-grained matrix. Example Brecciated Jasper such as Youngite.

Cat’s Eye    Dense inclusions of tiny slender parallel fibres which exhibit chatoyancy. Examples Cat’s Eye Chrysoberyl and Cat’s Eye Tourmaline.

Chatoyancy  Fibres of minerals which exhibit concentrated narrow bands of reflected light across the centre of a mineral or crystals and are thus said to be chatoyant. Examples Selenite, Ruby and Sapphire.

Concretion    An aggregate composed of a mass of small crystals that have become cemented together resulting in a rounded, ball-like appearance. Example Azurite.

Cryptocrystalline    Also being described as microcrystalline, are composed of tiny microscopic crystalline structures that cannot be see with the naked eye are thus appear to be massive or amorphous. Example Chalcedony.

Crystalline    Crystal structure formed by the regular molecular arrangement of atoms which are composed of visible crystals that have an atomic structure. Examples all types of Quartz.

Dendritic    Crystal groups or aggregates of minerals that form either skeletal or branching tree-like formations which are know as dendrites. Can form either on their own or within other crystal formations. Examples are the metals Copper which is dendritic in its formation, Silver which is skeletal in its formation and Dendritic Opal which are dendrites of Manganese within an Opal matrix.

Dichroic    The optical effect known as dichroism (meaning two) whereby one colour can be viewed from one angle and another colour is viewed in the same mineral from a different angle. Examples Iolite (Cordierite) Ruby, and Sapphire.

Druzy    An aggregate composed of pointed crystal protrusions from a cavity or base. Also called drusy or druze (druse). Examples Clear Quartz and Amethyst.

Fibrous    Describes an aggregate of a mineral which is constructed of fine, usually parallel threads or fibres. Examples some types of Tremolite and Malachite.

Fissure    An internal crack or cleavage within a mineral or crystalline matrix. Examples of Fissures within Quartz often produce beautiful “rainbows” as seen in Fire and Ice Quartz.

Fluorescence    A “glowing” effect when a mineral or crystal is illuminated with ultra violet light. Example Tugtupite.

Fossilized    Organic life from a previous age, the remains of plants and animals that have been embedded of preserved in rock. Examples Fossilized Wood and Turitella Agate.

Gemmy     A mineral that is very transparent and thus considered to be of a high grade. Examples some forms of Aquamarine and Emerald.

Hydrous    Crystals that have water molecules or its elements in their molecular structure. Example Gypsum being a hydrated form of Calcium Sulphate. Also see Anhydrous.

Impurities    Foreign material often elemental in nature that are not part of a minerals integral structure and which can result in colour changes within a mineral. Examples include the addition of Manganese to silicon dioxide (Quartz) which results in the purple type of Quartz known as Amethyst.

Iridescence    The light effect which causes a mineral to display a “play of colours” on an apparent mono-coloured surface. Examples are the pearly lustre seen in many Micas and the metallic lustre or tarnishing effect seen in minerals Bornite and Peacock Ore (acid treated Chalcopyrite) resulting from the oxidation of the metals.

Labradorescence    A mineral displaying dark metallic-like colours that “shimmer” in tones of blue, green and gold. Term derived from the gemstone Labradorite which characterizes this colour display. Examples Labradorite and Spectrolite.

Lustre    Reflective properties of the surface of crystals and minerals. Adamantine is a brilliant “diamond-like” lustre such Brazilianite. Metallic is an opaque reflective lustre such as Hematite. Pearly lustre as found in Micas. Silky lustre often found in minerals containing fibres such as Tigers Eye. Vitreous a glass-like lustre commonly found in over 70% of minerals such as Quartz (including carbonates, halides, hydroxides, phosphates siliates and sulphates). Waxy lustre whereby a crystals appears to be coated in a wax such as Variscite.

Matrix    The name given to a rock or minerals that crystals are found growing on or in.

Opalescence    Colour effect seen in precious Opals, from which the term is derived, which exhibit a glimmer of different colours when rotated or viewed from different angles. Example precious Opals.

Opaque    An optical property of a crystal whereby light is unable to be transmitted through it and thus an object cannot be viewed through it. Examples various metallic stones such as Hematite.

Petrified    Organic material that has undergone the process of petrification and has been replaced by silica. Example Petrified Wood and Fossil Wood.

Phantom Growth    A phenomena exhibited when a transparent crystal grows over an existing crystal layer and leaves an inscription of the previous growth within the crystalline matrix. Examples Phantom Quartz and Angel Phantom or Amphibole Quartz.

Piezoelectric    Substance that generates an electrical charge when under stress. Example Tourmaline.

Pleochroism     An effect present within a mineral exhibiting two or more separate colours when viewed at different angles. Examples Cordierite (Iolite) which displays blues, purple/blue, yellow, grey and sometimes red hues and Alexandrite.

Platy    Crystals and minerals that are small, flat and are flaky in appearance. Examples Barite and Stilbite that form platy aggregates.

Radiating    An aggregate composed of tiny slender crystals that radiate out from a central point. Examples Scolecite and Stibnite

Reflective    The effect that occurs when light hits a smooth or polished surface and bounces off it. Examples seen in polished Black Obsidian and Hematite to produce high reflective surfaces.

Reticulated    An aggregate of long crystals that criss cross each other and form a net or cross like appearance. Examples Rutile and Staurolite.

Rosette    Mineral with thin platy aggregates in rounded shapes that resemble the petal formation of rose flowers. Examples Siderite and some Micas.

Rutilated    Inclusions of Rutile within a crystalline matrix. Example Rutilated Quartz.

Schiller    An effect caused by the colour reflections or “flashes” present within a mineral. Schiller is German for “twinkle”. Examples precious Opals and Feldspars.

Spherulitic    An aggregate which has a three dimensional, circular, ball-like structure that radiates out from a central point. Example Wavellite.

Stalactitic    An aggregate composed of long icicle-like formations such a stalactites. Example some types of Calcite.

Tenebrescence    An unique optical property of certain minerals whereby they change colour upon the exposure to sunlight and UV light. Example Hackmanite.

Tourmalinated    Inclusions of Tourmaline within a crystalline matrix. Example Tourmalinated Quartz.

Translucent    An optical property of a crystal whereby light is transmitted thorough it but not fully, so that if an object is placed behind the crystals that object will not be clearly seen. Example Chalcedony.

Transparent    An optical property of a crystal whereby light is fully transmitted throughout it, so that if an object is placed behind the crystal that object can be seen clearly though it. Examples Clear Quartz, Amethyst and Natural Citrine.

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