Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

One Word Photo Challenge: Rainbow

Bismuth Lab Grown_001 Bismuth Lab Grown_002 Bismuth Lab Grown_005 Bismuth Lab Grown_007

Lab Grown Bismuth Crystals from Germany 3.5 x 2.0 x 1.5 cm

Inspired by Jennifer Nichole Wells’ One Word Photo Challenge 

Native bismuth crystals are extremely rare. Even then, there is some argument whether the material is simply crystalline or cleavages of the mineral. These things matter when it comes to the hardcore mineral collector. Trust me. I know.

Lab grown crystals and are quite spectacular in terms of shape and colour. This growth habit is known as “hopper”. The play of light, or iridescence is what lends the material the rainbow colours. Just like the plumage of a peacock or a slick of oil on water.

For photos of larger and more rainbow-y bismuth crystals from the lab, click on the image below.

lab grown

Native Bismuth – as found in nature. It is used in cosmetics, pigments, and a few pharmaceuticals, notably Pepto-Bismol. Bismuth has unusually low toxicity for a heavy metal. As the toxicity of lead has become more apparent in recent years, there is an increasing use of bismuth alloys (presently about a third of bismuth production) as a replacement for lead.


Categories: It's a Hobby, Mineral Collecting, Photography

Tags: , , , , , ,

34 replies

  1. Beautiful crystals! Love the colours of light around them.


  2. The colors and light are fascinating! And now, thanks to you — and the link at the end of your post — I know what bismuth is. 🙂


    • Well, my dear, thanks to YOU, I’ve updated the post to show what bismuth in the raw looks like. I’ve added a photo of the stuff as it’s found in nature so you can see the difference. Occasionally, the natural stuff displays the same iridescence, but certainly not as dramatically as the lab grown material.


  3. Beautiful Plus – I learned something today. Thanks!


  4. There seems absolutely no end to the beauty to be found in your ‘rocks’, Maggie !


  5. When I saw the first picture, I immediately thought, “Oh, what a beautiful cocktail ring.” Not that I’m into cocktail rings, mind you. But if you ever want to get fancy, Maggie, we’ll through on some rocks and sip tea. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh look how fancy I got in my spelling of ‘throw’……maybe I should stay away from the cocktails….


  7. These are gorgeous! I’ve never seen anything like it before! But I guess that comes with them being lab grown… It’s crazy comparing the last image to the previous ones and thinking that they’re essentially the same thing. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂


  8. Mmmm…that native bismuth looks absolutely delicious. My favorite candy in England was golden honeycomb covered in dark chocolate, and that bismuth looks just like it. Ohhhh….

    The other made me thing immediately of the Borg, despite the lovely colors. Beautiful, though.


  9. You are a born teacher Maggie, this post is fascinating. I’d never heard of bismuth before!!
    So colourful and useful! ⭐


  10. As we used to say back in the day, “Heh-Vee, man! Heh-Vee!!”

    I have a hunter/fisher buddy who’s switched to bismuth bullets and fishing line sinkers to avoid to toxicity of lead.


  11. Many thanks for the link Maggie. It was only when I went to swallow, that I realised my throat was dry from reading about that crystal with my mouth hanging open in amazement! I would never have guessed something with such sharp angles could be grown!


    • Is it not amazing? I came across a video on YouTube – it can be done in an artist’s studio, as long as you have blow torches and heat resistant vessels and other safety gear, of course.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I tracked down a video to watch, and at the end the fellow was saying how he didn’t know why his crystals were a plain silvery colour but surmised it was because he had melted down 99.9% pure bismuth. Very interesting, he made it look very simple. I couldn’t help cringing when he was blowtorching without any protection on his hands at all. 🙂


  12. Wow. The things you must know! I would never have guessed these are crystals. I am bookmarking this for my little mineral lover.
    I had no idea that bismuth came from a mineral. Honestly, my best guess would have been an herb. Pepto makes me vomit. Without fail. I stopped trying it around 20, lol — but I don’t think knowing it’s pretty would help at all.



  1. One Word Photo Challenge: Aqua | Jennifer Nichole Wells

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