Apart from being visually stunning, crystals have a long and unique history throughout the existence of mankind. Why? Crystals have been utilized for centuries in many ways. In-fact, crystallography is the only branch of science to claim the Nobel Prize 28 times. Even Nikola Tesla was quoted as saying,
“In crystal we have a pure evidence of the existence of a formative life principle, and although in spite of everything we cannot understand the life of crystals – it is still a living being.” (Nikola Tesla, 1900)
This blog series is dedicated to exploring many of the important and historical uses of crystals. Today, we use them in just about everything from watches to TVs, computers, food, buildings, lasers, medicine, you name it! Crystals are everywhere. Here are just a few examples of how humans have used them throughout history:
- Religious ceremonies
- Wealth and Currency
- Medicinal tools and aids in healing
- Building Structure
To begin unpacking the reasons for the inclusion of crystals throughout mankind’s history, let’s start with a look at the anatomy of crystals. By the end of this blog you might be surprised to find just how similar crystal compositions are to aspects of the human body.
What is a Crystal?
A crystal is a piece of a homogeneous solid substance having a natural geometrically regular form with symmetrically arranged plane faces.
That definition works well for what the common crystal we’ve seen in books and on TV may look like. But crystals are much more than that.
Not so simply defined, crystals are composed of repeating, three-dimensional, highly ordered atoms, ions or molecules. So highly ordered in-fact, science has found the crystalline structure to be the most stable structure in existence. The stability has been proven time and time again and has served as both models and vehicles to deliver endless advancements to mankind. And contained inside that stable, three-dimensional structure, is energy. Below are just a few detailed examples of how different properties of crystals have been used throughout human history.
Crystals vibrate with energy. Not only do they vibrate but certain crystals like quartz maintain a precise frequency as it vibrates. This makes quartz more reliable than any mechanical invention when it comes to keeping a rhythm. When we think about things that are rhythmically constant, one immediate concept should come to mind. Time itself is constantly ticking by. What better way to maintain the consistent ticking of time than with tiny crystals that oscillate at an exact frequency and can hold the precise measurements of time?
It would be difficult to imagine everyday life in 2019 without computers. Chances are you’re using a computer to read this post. That being said, most people think of Silicon Valley when thinking about the cutting edge of computers and technology. But a lot of people would be surprised to find out that the valley most known for its tech savvy, actually gets the name from the important crystal compound most integral to the technology, it so avidly produces. Silicon is created from melting crystals to a liquid form. It is used as a semiconductor and utilized in hundreds of thousands of microelectronics and processors.
While we just mentioned the potential of silicon as a semiconductor, it should come as no surprise that silicon is also used to construct solar panels for that very reason! In a nutshell, solar panels convert sunlight into electricity.
Stay tuned for part 2 of "What Makes Crystals are So Special?"