Humanity’s obsession with sparkly gems doesn’t appear to be fading, as evidenced by how they influenced medieval poets and the resurgence of crystal healing.
According to a 2020 Guardian article, Americans accounted for 35% of the global gemstone market during the pandemic, with consumers still prepared to pay top dollar for the ideal rock or stone.
One Redditor claimed to have grown their own priceless jewel without having to pay for it. A user named “crystalchase21” described how they created a copper acetate crystal at home using items they already had.
Posting to the r/interestingasf*** subreddit on Wednesday 25 Jan, the crystal enthusiast shared a snap of the impressive gem they’d grown over a seven-month period.
They penned: “I grew this crystal using vinegar and discarded copper. It took 7 months to grow and is known as copper acetate. The crystal is uncut and unpolished because it formed naturally.”
More than 130,000 Redditors have upvoted the post, and there have been 1,500 comments added by people who are in awe of the crystal that was grown at home using only scrap copper and vinegar.
420gucciqueen said: “This is amazing!”
Gara_M said: “This is interesting as f*** indeed.”
The copper acetate crystal is 3 cm in size and weighs 21.5 grams, according to Crystalchase21, who goes by the name Chase Lean. Growing crystals is a hobby for this Malaysian math student, who cultivates specimens in a storeroom at home.
They said: “I first got into growing crystals in my high school chemistry class.
“My chemistry teacher asked us to conduct an experiment where we made copper sulfate and crystallized it.
“I thought I was going to see some powdery salt in a dish, but imagine my surprise when I saw beautiful blue crystals inside the next Monday!”
Collecting minerals is an expensive pastime, so Lean decided to start growing their own.
They continued: “Mostly I just keep them in a drawer and share my experiments online. It’s a good topic for conversation.
“Sometimes you’ll find beakers and dishes lying all over the house.”
Lean also has their own website, crystalverse.com, where they share tutorials on how to grow crystals yourself at home.
They also left a mini-guide on how to produce copper acetate in the comments, explaining: “First, I made a concentrated blue solution of copper acetate by dissolving scrap copper in vinegar.
“As the solution evaporated, crystals started forming.
“I think it’s really cool how nature produces these flat faces and sharp edges by itself – the crystal is not cut or polished in any way.”
The diamond industry was derailed by COVID-19, with mines closing around the world and supply chains collapsing. However, the demand for gemstones has soared, in part due to a growing interest in crystal healing and new-age practices ignited by the pandemic.
Unfortunately, Lean says home-grown crystals aren’t sturdy enough to wear as jewelry, and copper acetate is brittle, water soluble and “mildly toxic”—so they recommend wearing gloves to prevent skin irritation and storing crystals in sealed containers.