Difference Between Crystal and Gem (With Table)

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The words crystal and gem sound magical with very few differences between them and many of you might be thinking 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 a lot of differences between them and they aren’t magical at all though people use gemstones for fortune. Gemstones are very often used in astrology and in making jewelry. The common salt, ice, and sugar are also crystals. 

Crystal vs Gem

The difference between crystal and gem is that a crystal is made up of atoms or ions arranged in a definite order and a definite structure while a gem is a mineral that is very precious and occurs only in a limited geographical area. A crystal may be called a gem while a gem would not be called a crystal. Salts are a common example of a crystal while ruby, sapphire, diamond, emerald, pearl are all gems.

Comparison Table Between Crystal and Gem

Parameters of comparison CrystalGem
Definition Crystals or crystalline solids are pure substances that are made up of atoms or ions or molecules and have well-defined arrangements.Gems are precious minerals that are found in limited areas in the world and they are usually used in jewelry.
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.
Price comparison A crystal is much cheaper in comparison to gems.A gem being a rare mineral is very costly and manifold times costlier than crystals.
UsesCrystals like salt and sugar are used by us almost daily in our food. Crystals are also used in manufacturing technology gadgets like smartphones and watches.Gems are most commonly used in jewelry like a necklace or a wristwatch or a bracelet or a ring. They may even be used in astrology or for scientific purposes.
Abundance 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.
ExamplesSugar, 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 generally formed by modification or crystallization processes. Rock salt, ice, and refined white sugar are some of the examples of crystalline solids.

Crystals are classified as hexagonal, tetragonal, monoclinic, orthorhombic, rhombohedral, etc. based on their shape and structures. They are found in abundance in the world and some of the rare crystals are usually called gems. Crystal is used as common salt and sugar and in electronic gadgets like smartphones, laptops, etc.

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What is a Gem?

Gemstones are precious, rare, and unique minerals found in limited regions on the Earth. They are either classified into precious and semi-precious depending on their price or mineral-based or organic-based depending on their composition. The word gem is often used as an adjective for people or pets or things that are invaluable and adorable. Gemstones are all about beauty and charm and thus are desired a lot by people.

Gems are tough and durable and are often cut and polished to make jewelry and expensive ornaments. They are most commonly used to make expensive necklaces, bracelets, rings, wristwatches, etc., and are used in healing, spells, and chants, laser surgeries, and astrology. People often wear different kinds of gemstones suggested by astrologers believing that they would bring good fortune to them.

They have a range of prices depending on the way they are designed and the purity of the gemstone. Diamonds, emeralds, amber, turquoise, pearls are some of the common gemstones. The study of gemstones is known as gemology. They are naturally present on the Earth and are of different colors like red, green, blue, yellow, etc. 

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Main Differences Between a Crystal and a Gem

  1. A crystal is present in abundance on the Earth while a gem is a rare mineral found only in specific and limited parts of the Earth.
  2. Gems might be crystalline while crystals might not always be a gem. If a gem is crystalline, we would surely call it a gem and not a crystal.
  3. Crystals are cheaper and easily available while gems being rare are quite expensive than crystals.
  4. Crystals are used in laboratories and used as common salt and sugar, etc. while gems are used primarily in making jewelry and in astrology.
  5. 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.


The terms crystal and gem might appear similar but they have a lot of differences. A crystal is also known as a crystalline solid is a pure substance made up of atoms or ions arranged in a definite configuration like sodium chloride which is the common salt. Crystals can be classified based on their shape into tetragonal, orthorhombic, monoclinic, etc. categories. They are easily available and cheaper than gems.

Gems are also known as gemstones are rare minerals found in some parts of the world and are very expensive. These are used mainly in making jewelry and in astrology. Some of the precious gemstones are diamond, ruby, emerald, pearl, sapphire, topaz, etc.


  1. https://www.mdpi.com/2075-163X/10/11/1042
  2. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlehtml/2019/dt/c9dt02309g
  3. https://www.mdpi.com/2075-163X/10/11/1042

Last update on 2021-03-03 / Amazon Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API