The words crystal and gem sound magical, with very few differences between them, and many of you might think that crystals and gems would be very costly.
Are crystals and gems costly? Are they magical? What are they made up of?
Crystals and gems have many differences, and they aren’t magical at all though people use gemstones for fortune.
Gemstones are very used in astrology and in making jewellery. Common salt, ice, and sugar are also crystals.
- Crystal is a solid material with a regularly repeating pattern of atoms, while a gem is a mineral or organic substance valued for its beauty and rarity.
- Crystal can be artificially made, while a gem is naturally occurring.
- Crystal is used for decorative purposes, while a gem is used in jewellery or as a symbol of wealth or status.
Crystal vs Gem
Crystal, also called crystalline solids, is a pure substance that consists of ions, atoms and molecules in a well-defined arrangement and comes in different shapes and structures. Gem is a precious mineral found in specific parts of the world and used in jewellery. It is also called a gemstone.
|Parameters of comparison
|Crystals or crystalline solids are pure substances made up of atoms, ions, or molecules and have well-defined arrangements.
|Gems are precious minerals found in limited areas of the world and are used in jewellery.
|Also known as
|A crystal is also known as a crystalline solid.
|A gem is also known as a gemstone.
|Basis of classification
|Crystals are mainly classified based on their shapes and structures.
|Gemstones or gems are classified based on the chemical constituents that make them.
|A crystal is much cheaper in comparison to gems.
|A gem is a rare mineral, is very costly and manifold times costlier than crystals.
|Crystals like salt and sugar are used almost daily in our food. Crystals are also used in manufacturing technology gadgets like smartphones and watches.
|Gems are most commonly used in jewellery like necklaces, wristwatches, bracelets, or rings. They may even be used in astrology or for scientific purposes.
|Crystals are relatively much more abundant than gems and are found almost in every part of the world.
|Gems are rare and are found only in certain areas of the world.
|Sugar, common salt, ice, snowflakes, quartz, etc.
|Diamond, topaz, emerald, ruby, sapphire, amber, pearl, turquoise, lapis lazuli, etc.
What is a Crystal?
A crystal is a definite arrangement of atoms or ions into a lattice having a definite shape and structure.
The study of crystals or crystalline solids is known as crystallography, and crystals are formed by modification or crystallization processes. Some examples of crystalline solids are rock salt, ice, and refined white sugar.
Based on their shape and structures, crystals are classified as hexagonal, tetragonal, monoclinic, orthorhombic, rhombohedral, etc.
They are abundant in the world, and some rare crystals are called gems. Crystal is common salt and sugar in electronic gadgets like smartphones, laptops, etc.
What is a Gem?
Gemstones are precious, rare, and unique minerals found in limited regions on the Earth.
They are classified as precious and semi-precious depending on their price or mineral-based or organic-based depending on their composition.
The word gem is used as an adjective for people, pets, or things that are invaluable and adorable. Gemstones are all about beauty and charm and thus are greatly desired by people.
Gems are tough and durable and are cut and polished to make jewellery and expensive ornaments.
They are most commonly used to make expensive necklaces, bracelets, rings, wristwatches, etc., in healing, spells, chants, laser surgeries, and astrology.
People wear different kinds of gemstones suggested by astrologers believing they would bring them good fortune.
They have a range of prices depending on how they are designed and the gemstone’s purity. Diamonds, emeralds, amber, turquoise, and pearls are common gemstones.
The study of gemstones is known as gemology. They are naturally present on the Earth and are of different colours like red, green, blue, yellow, etc.
Main Differences Between a Crystal and a Gem
- A crystal is abundant on the Earth, while a gem is a rare mineral found only in specific and limited parts of the Earth.
- Gems might be crystalline, while crystals might not always be a gem. If a gem is crystalline, we would call it a gem, not a crystal.
- Crystals are cheaper and easily available, while rare gems are quite expensive than crystals.
- Crystals are used in laboratories and as common salt and sugar, while gems are used primarily in jewellery and astrology.
- Crystals are classified mainly on their shapes. They are orthorhombic, tetragonal, rhombohedral, monoclinic, cubic, hexagonal, etc., while gems are classified based on their chemical constituents. They are of two types, with a mineral base or with an organic base.
Last Updated : 11 June, 2023
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.