From a scientific perspective, the term “crystal” denotes any solid exhibiting an ordered chemical structure, wherein its components are organized in a precisely arranged pattern, akin to bricks in a wall. These “bricks” may take the form of cubes or more intricate shapes.
As an Earth scientist and educator, my focus often centers on minerals. These are naturally occurring solid substances found in the earth, indivisible into different materials beyond their constituent atoms. Rocks, in turn, comprise various minerals. While all minerals qualify as crystals, it’s essential to note that not all crystals are minerals.
Mineral crystals found in nature are commonly available in rock shops, featuring specimens like pyrite, colloquially known as fool’s gold due to its resemblance to real gold. Additionally, these shops may showcase visually striking, artificially created crystals such as bismuth, a natural element that forms crystals upon melting and subsequent cooling.