Bismuth is a metallic element with the atomic number 83 and atomic symbol Bi. The crystals we sell are grown in an artificial environment as their occurrence is extremely rare in nature. Bismuth crystals grow in what’s known as a “hopper" pattern, also seen in salt and other mineral crystallization. The iridescence that is seen on the crystals is a very thin layer of oxidation on the surface caused by exposure to oxygen while the metal is super-heated. These colors do not permeate the crystal and can be scratched off relatively easily.
Bismuth is a brittle and soft metal with a hardness of 2-2.5 (out of 10) on the Mohs scale of hardness. It is the only non-toxic heavy metal known to exist, and one of the only materials to expand when cold and contract when hot. It is very slightly radioactive (it’s safe to handle!) with the longest known half-life of over 20 billion years! Bismuth has a relatively low melting point of 520.5 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable to melt in non-industrial environments, such as a household gas range. Its common uses, aside from the beautiful crystals we love, are for shotgun shot, fishing line weight, fire detectors, cosmetics, and as the active ingredient in Pepto Bismol.