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My Crystal Growing (Mis-)Adventures




Here in Munich on one weekend every year the Mineralientage München are taking place, Europe's biggest mineral show and geological trade fair.
I always try to get there since they have really cool exhibitions and great stuff to buy (one time they even sold a T-Rex skull, but that was a little bit too expensive :)).
Then some years ago there was this booth where they displayed self-grown crystals. They looked really cool and the whole thing got me interested and i bought one of those crystal-growing kits. I was kind if fascinated by the whole thing and some months later i ordered some more chemicals to grow my crystals from. Here is the homepage from Udo J. A. Behner, from where i got the kit and chemicals. That page is also a good source for more information about crystal growing and has lots of images of very well grown ones. Check it out, perhaps you might become interested, crystal growing is really an interesting hobby.


Unfortunately i currently don't have any good-looking crystals (though i'll intend to work on that), so on this little page i present you some pictures of 'misadventures into the realm of crystal growing'.
I'll add some more images of my home-grown preciousnesses later.


Some years back i was able to grow a very nice deep-blue crystal from copper-sulfate (WARNING: DO NOT EAT COPPER SULFATE!!! (Yes Leo, i mean you! *g*)), that looked like a huge polished gemstone.
But i made a mistake: i let it lie for a long time next to my windowsill on which i had some plants. This meant that the air there was a bit humid. And self-grown crystals have one lethal enemy: water.
Here is how that once beautiful stone looks now:


nice, isn't it? The surface absorbed the wetness in the air, went into partial solution and then crusted out when it dried again.

Two more pics of it:






So that was the first lesson: keep your crystals dry.

Second lesson: when growing a crystal, you should never forget it.
Properly growing a crystal involves making sure that you have only one crystal in your glass/container and filter the saline solution when new small crystals begin to build on the glass walls or bottom to remove them.
A drying, salt-containing liquid also has the ability to 'climb' glass walls.
This is not intended and gives no useful results, however it looks very interesting as you can see here: (This one is made out of ordinary table salt)




And finally lesson three, a variation of lesson two:
when a nice crystal has grown out in its container, remove it! And don't forget it.
Once a part of the crystal comes out of the water and is not removed you have lost. Because the salt-solution will find it's way trough the crystal and destroy all his sharp, polished looking edges and surfaces and build a crust of very many very small crystal-splinters there, as the following images show:












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