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Bismuth is rarely found naturally in its elemental form (even less commonly than platinum), but lab-grown crystals are gaining in popularity for their unique geometric formations (hopper crystals) and phenomenal iridescence. Bismuth is a silver-white metal, but an oxide layer forms immediately when crystals make contact with air. This produces an array of colors similar to that of a soap bubble or oil on water. The different colors are dependent upon the thickness of the oxide layer, which determines how light is reflected off of the surface creating a striking rainbow effect.

Bismuth Polished
Bismuth Classification
Common Name Bismuth
Species Bismuth
Bismuth Optical Properties
Transparency Opaque
Pleochroism None
Bismuth Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 2-2.5
Streak Silver White
Specific Gravity 9.700-9.800
Inclusions Spiral stair-stepped structure
Luster Metallic
Cleavage Perfect
Bismuth Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name Bismuth
Chemical Formula Bi
Crystal System Trigonal
Chemistry Classification Native Element

Bismuth Colors

  • Multi-color Bismuth Multi-color

Countries of Origin

Canada; Germany

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Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.