Growing Halite (Salt) Crystals
Equipment Required: Its quite easy, just get a canister of table salt such as the Mortons Salt shown at left, and a container able to sit still for a few weeks, and some water. That's all it takes. At left you see the salt container and the bowl of water with as much salt as we can get to dissolve in the water already suspended. This takes the place of the salt water oceans and creates our own "mini-ocean of salt water.
Suggested Grade Level: Elementary School and up to gemological teaching level.
Degree of Difficulty: Easy.
Cautions: None really....just don't disturb the bowl while the crystals are forming.
Here's how it works: Simply let the water stand still for a few weeks. The crystals will do all the work.
Here is what you should see :
During Week #2
After about two weeks you should
start seeing numerous square halite crystals starting to grow
in the bottom of the dish as shown above. The water will appear
to clear up but there is still a lot of halite to crystallize
from the salt water still in the bowl.
During Week 4
You should start seeing nicely formed cubic halite crystals of fairly good size (1cm) start to form as the sodium chloride continues to crystallize out of the salt water solution, and continues to make the crystals grow larger.
Crystallization is complete
Now you should have some well defined halite crystals of fairly good size. Some will be colourless and clear, as shown at the top right hand of the photograph at left. Others will be white. You can add some food colouring to give your halite crystals some added character.
Or...You can grind them up into powder and use them for table salt....or start all over again to make new crystals.
© Copyright 2014 YourGemologist LLC. All Rights Reserved. Please read the fine print below:
The information contained in this website is offered free of charge to anyone wishing to learn more about gemology. The information may be downloaded by any student, consumer, or jeweler for your own personal study and use. None of this site can be downloaded for posting on another website or server for any reason. It will be a violation of the copyright for anyone to copy, duplicate, distribute, and/or re-print this material in any format or any medium without written permission. Nor can anyone post this information on a for-profit website without written permission. That will ruin it for everyone and cause the entire site to be erased and canceled. Please honor this copyright for the good of everyone else.
Robert James FGA, GG.....YourGemologist