Published September 2016 • Updated June 2022 • Read Time: 6 minutes
Bismuth is a silvery metal that can have a bright rainbow tarnish. It’s fantastical geometric shape is known as “hopper crystal”. Both the tarnish and the shape occur naturally, but most of the colorful Bismuth on the market has been transformed. In fact, you can make your own Bismuth hopper crystals at home in your own kitchen. This soft metal can be melted easily and was often used by ancient and medieval Alchemists in their quest to change base metal into gold. Bismuth is a stone for experimentation and transformation. It’s energy can help us to change ourselves or to change the world around us. It is a wonderful talisman for scientists and dreamers alike.
Bismuth is an incredible stone for anyone who is actively journeying. It helps us to know where we are going, to stay the course, to be open to new opportunities and to continually move forward. It reminds us that the Divine and the Universe wants us to succeed and will conspire in our favor if we move boldly and with an open-heart. Bismuth helps us feel deeply connected to our Highest Self and other spiritual energies. It has both a grounding and expansive energy, helping us be comfortable with change and eager for positive transformation. When we feel lonely or lost, Bismuth can help us to easily connect with something or someone, feeding our soul and nurturing our heart, allowing us to regain our confidence and enthusiasm.
Emotional Healing Properties
Bismuth has a very comforting and friendly energy. It helps us to feel more secure in our relationships with people, and with the world at large. Bismuth helps us to make our needs known and to show others our value and unique qualities. It helps us to handle change gracefully and to stay calm even if everyone around us is in a panic. Bismuth reminds us that we can handle whatever life throws at us and that we have what it takes to succeed. In romantic relationships, Bismuth can help couples deepen their connect, often leading to marriage or other forms of long-term partnership. However, Bismuth will also laughingly remind us not to settle or stay with someone who isn’t quite right for us. It encourages us to work well with others, while maintaining our own independence. More than anything, Bismuth invites us to “enjoy the journey” as we grow and evolve over the course of our lifetime.
Mental Healing Properties
Bismuth is a fantastic stone for anyone who is setting goals or has big dreams. It encourages us to think big, to plan meticulously, and to walk our talk. Bismuth also encourages us to be wise, to plan strategically and to be teachable. It urges us to be willing to evolve, to be a life-long learner, and to change ourselves when new information or situations requires that of us. Bismuth keeps us looking forward to the future, rather than dwelling on the past. It helps our mind to stay sharp, focused and engaged in the present moment.
Physical Healing Properties
Bismuth is recommended when we are completely exhausted, either from a physical condition or because emotional stress has taken its toll. It gently gives us energy so that we can resume our normal life. It also reminds us that there is no shame in struggling, it happens to everyone at some point or another. We can only do what we can, and our best will be good enough. Bismuth is also a good talisman for paralysis, helping us to express our needs and find ways of getting them met.
Natural Bismuth is found in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Mexico, Poland, Spain, United States (California, Colorado, South Dakota) and Vietnam. However, most of the Bismuth on the commercial market is lab-grown in Germany.
Mining and Treatments
Bismuth is usually mined as a biproduct of mining aimed at extracting other metals such as Copper, Lead, Tin and Tungsten. It is usually found in crude lead bullion, which then goes through several stages of refining.
Bismuth is a relatively rare Native Element, a chemical element that appears in nature uncombined with anything else. Native Elements are typically divided into three groups: metals such as Copper, Gold, Silver, and Platinum; semi-metals like Arsenic; and nonmetals like Sulfur and Carbon. Bismuth is a brittle semi-metal.
Bismuth’s energy works well with its family – other Native Elements. Try it in combination with Copper and Shungite
Bismuth is a rare element, about as common as silver. Most of the time it forms as a lump of grey or silvery metal, which is often mistaken for tin or lead. On very rare occasions, high-purity Bismuth will form natural “Hopper Crystals”, with outer walls full developed like steps, while the interior remains empty. This shape occurs when Bismuth grows so rapidly, that there is not time or the necessary materials, to fill in all the gaps. Hoppering happens when the electrical attraction along one edge of the crystal is higher, thus causing faster growth. Bismuth can easily tarnishes, and when that happens it takes on a wide-range of colors.
Bismuth’s energy works well with its “friends” – crystal associates formed in the same geological environment. Try it in combination Barite
While native Bismuth may be available to collectors on occasion, most of it is used for commercial purposes. But Bismuth Hopper Crystals are one of the easiest crystals to grow and can be created in any home-kitchen. Unsurprisingly, most of the colorful crystals are lab-grown, rather than mined. To start with, natural Bismuth, which is usually grey and fairly uninspiring, must be brought up to a high enough temperature to melt. Once in a liquid form, it is removed from the heat source and allowed to cool. During this cooling, crystallization will begin to take place and crystals will begin to float on the surface of the liquid. They can then be removed with tweezers and set down to continue to solidify and cool. Later on, the surface of the Hopper Crystals can be oxidized to bring out beautiful rainbow colors.
Silver-white, pinkish-white, red. When oxidized it has metallic rainbow colors
Hardness – Mohs Scale
Making Bismuth Crystals
History of Bismuth
Bismuth is a relatively rare mineral that has only recently become available to collectors. Prior to the 1600s, it was often confused with tin or iron, which it can closely resemble. The name Bismuth has two possible origins; it may be a German name, a variation of wismuth or weiße Mass, meaning “white mass”. Alternatively, its name could come from the Arabic bi ismid, meaning “similar to Antimony” (another silver-grey metal).
Bismuth was not included in ancient lapidaries, texts that describe gemstones and their powers, nor is it widely included in most modern ones. While lapidary writers took little note of this rare metal, medieval Alchemists showed a keen interest. Alchemists were the forerunners of today’s chemists, educated men and women who performed experiments hoping to find the key to eternal life and/or the ability to turn base metals into gold. Alchemists referred to Bismuth as tectum argenti, Latin for “silver being made” and considered it to be almost an evolutionary step between a base metal and a precious one. Alchemists worked with the metal in the hope that it would reveal its secrets and literally turn into silver, giving them the key for how to turn other metals into gold.
Julie Abouzelof is the owner of Moonrise Crystals and an advocate for responsibly sourced gems and minerals. Her first career was in education teaching history, geology and anthropology, as well as working with special-needs students. She is now a heart-centered entrepreneur who encourages mindfulness and positive action to heal ourselves and the world. Julie lives in Hawaii with her lover and a little parrot named Darwin.