Home Previous

Crystal Types Crystal Shapes & Sizes Crystals Colour & Light How Crystals Form Growing Crystal Gardens Growing Crystals: Recipes Growing Crystals on String

Fabric Stain Removal Guide


How does light affect the
color of a crystal?

How do crystals get their color? The presence of different chemicals causes the variety of colors to different gemstones. Many gems are simply quartz crystals colored by the environments to which they are exposed. Amethyst gets its color from iron found at specific points in the crystalline structure. Topaz is an aluminium silicate - it comes in many colors due to the presence of different chemicals. The color of any compound (whether or not it is a crystal) depends on how the atoms and or molecules absorb light. Normally white light (what comes out of light bulbs) is considered to have all wavelengths (colors) of light in it. If you pass a white light through a colored compound some of the light is absorbed (we don't see the color which is absorbed, but we see the rest of the light) as it is reflected off the surface. This gives rise to the idea of "Complementary Colors". If a compound absorbs light of a certain color the compound appears to be the complimentary color. Here is a table of colors and their compliments:

Color Compliment Wavelength
(of color nm)
violet green-yellow 400-424
blue yellow 424-491
green red 491-570
yellow blue 570-585
orange green-blue 585-647
red green 647-700

So if you have a crystal which absorbs red light, it will appear green and if the crystal absorbs green light, it will appear red.

Custom Search

[Previous] [Crystal Types] [Crystal Shapes & Sizes] [Crystals Colour & Light] [How Crystals Form] [Growing Crystal Gardens] [Growing Crystals: Recipes] [Growing Crystals on String]

Home ] Previous ] Crystal Types ] Crystal Shapes & Sizes ] [ Crystals Colour & Light ] How Crystals Form ] Growing Crystal Gardens ] Growing Crystals: Recipes ] Growing Crystals on String ]

HA Campbell 1998-2011      Privacy Statement