Below is a list of helpful terms to know when working with gems and minerals. It includes terminology on various crystal shapes and forms. Terms specific to mineral shapes have “(form)” next to them for ease of reference.
Abundance (form): An abundance crystal consists of one long quartz crystal with many small crystals clustered around its base. Its function is to attract wealth and abundance.
Adamantine Luster: A particularly brilliant shine as shown by a specimen such as a diamond.
Amorphous (form): Amorphous crystals, such as obsidian, have no particular shape. Energy flows rapidly through and amorphous crystal as it has no rigid internal organization.
Aura: The subtle bio-magnetic sheath that surrounds the physical body, providing a protective zone that extends for about 18 inches to 3 feet from the body and contains information about a person’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual state of being.
Aura Crystal: A crystal specimen, usually of the quartz variety, that has been coated with metal (i.e. gold, titanium) in a vacuum chamber resulting in an iridescent sheen.
Ball (form): Balls are usually shaped from a larger piece of crystal and may have planes or flaws within them. They emit energy in all directions equally.
Barnacle (form): A barnacle crystal has many small crystals covering a larger crystal.
Bridge (form): A bridge crystal grows out of another larger crystal. It assists in bridging gaps and bringing things together.
Carat: The standard measure of weight for precious stones and metals. A carat is equal to 0.007 oz (0.2g).
Cathedral Quartz (form): Cathedral quartz may appear to be composed of several convoluted pieces, but these are in fact all part of the main crystal which has multiple terminations with at least one point at the apex.
Channeler (form): A channeling crystal has a 7 sided facet at the front of the termination and a triangular face on the opposite side. It channels healing energy or information from higher sources.
Cleavage: The way a mineral or rock breaks along a certain plane, or in a certain direction.
Cluster (form): A cluster has many points bedded, but not necessarily fixed, into a base. The crystals may be small or large.
Companion (form): A companion crystal has two crystals entwined and partly growing in each other, or a small crystal that grows out of the main crystal.
Cross (form): A cross formation has one crystal at right angles to another, usually larger crystal.
Crystal: A naturally occurring substance whose atoms are arranged in a regular manner.
Crystal System: The systems in which crystals are grouped based on their symmetry. There are 6 crystal systems: cubic, monoclinic, triclinic, trigonal/hexagonal, orthorhombic, and tetragonal.
Diamond Window (form): Flat faces at the top of crystals are called windows. A diamond window is large and connected to the apex and the base.
Double Terminated (form): A crystal with two naturally faceted ends.
Dull Luster: A shine that reflects very little.
Earthy Luster: A non-reflective mineral luster.
Egg (form): A crystal cut in the shape of an egg.
Elestial (form): An elestial has many natural terminations and folds over a multilayered crystal.
Etched (form): An etched crystal that looks as though hieroglyphs or cuneiform writing has been inscribed on its faces.
Faces: The External flat surface that make up a crystal’s shape.
Fault Line: An inner flaw or break in a crystal that refracts light and appears to divide the crystal into sections.
Fluorescence: The optical effect whereby a mineral appears a different color in ultraviolet light than in ordinary daylight.
Fracture: The distinctive way a mineral breaks.
Friable: Minerals that easily crumble are referred to as friable.
Gemstone: A mineral, usually crystal-like, which is valued for its color, rarity, and hardness.
Generator (form): A generator crystal has six facets meeting equally in a sharp point.
Geode (form): A geode is contained within an outer form. When opened, it is hollow with many crystals pointing inward.
Geologist: A scientist who studies the Earth and its structure and composition.
Gridding: The placing of crystals around a building, person, or room for protection or enhancement energies.
Habit: The general shape of a mineral.
Inclusion: Any material that is trapped inside a mineral during its formation, often producing a rainbow.
Iridescence: A play of colors that looks like oil on water that occurs when light reflects off internal elements of a rock or mineral.
Layered (form): Plate-like crystals such as lepidolite are referred to as layered.
Luster: The way in which light reflects of the surface of a mineral.
Manifestation (form): One or more small crystals are totally enclosed by a larger crystal.
Matrix: The bedrock on which crystals are formed.
Metallic Luster: A shine like that of polished metal.
Mineral: A naturally occurring solid with specific characteristics, such as a particular chemical composition and crystal shape.
Mineralogist: A scientist who studies minerals.
Mohs Scale: A scale of hardness used in classifying minerals. It runs from 1 to 10 using a series of reference minerals, and a position on the scale depends on the ability to scratch minerals rated lower.
Occlusion: A mineral deposit within a crystal, which usually shows up as cloudy patches, spots, or a ghostlike image depending on the color of the material.
Opaque: A substance or material that does not let light pass through it.
Ore: A rock or mineral from which metal can be extracted
Phantom (form): A phantom crystal appears ghostlike within the body of a larger crystal.
Pleochroic: In a crystal, appearing to have two or more different colors or shades of color, depending on the angle from which it is viewed.
Point (form): Points may be natural or artificially shaped. A single crystal point has a faceted pointed end and the other end tends to look ragged where it has been separated from a cluster base.
Prism: A solid geometric figure with a set of faces parallel to one another.
Pyramid (form): A crystal with four sides on a base, but the base itself may be squared off if the crystal is natural (i.e. apophyllite) rather than artificially shaped.
Record Keeper (form): A record keeper crystal has clearly etched pyramid shapes on its side or sides.
Resinous Luster: A shine like that of resin.
Scepter Quartz (form): A scepter quartz is a large central rod around one end of which another crystal is formed.
Seer Stone (form): A seer stone is a natural, water polished stone that is cut to reveal an inner world.
Specific Gravity: The ratio of a mineral’s weight compared to the weight of an equal volume of water.
Square (form): A square crystal consolidates energy within its form. It’s useful for anchoring intention and grounding.
Streak: The color of a mineral’s powder. It is less variable than the color of the mineral, so is a more reliable identification tool.
Striation: One of multiple, usually parallel grooves or scratches on a rock surface, produced by abrasion associated with glacial movement, stream flow, a geologic fault, or meteoric impact.
Tabular (form): A tabular crystal has two wide sides resulting in a flat crystal which may be double terminated.
Transmitter (form): A transmitter crystal has two seven-sided facets with two perfect triangles between them.
Tumbled (form): Refers to stones that have been polished in a large drum with grit, resulting in a smooth and often shiny stone.
Vitreous Luster: A shine like that of glass.
Vogal Wand (form): A crystal with specially created, indented facets with specific angles down the sides of a quartz wand.
Wand (form): A crystal in the shape of a wand, either naturally occurring or artificially cut.
Revised 30 September 2017