Rules, Categories, and Prizes

Contest Rules

This competition is open to anyone who would like to participate. Participants will be expected to provide their own materials; however, samples of suitable compounds can be provided to teachers for use with students in their classrooms upon request. Participants will be expected and make careful assessment of any risk or safety precautions associated with growing their crystal. For consideration, participants must submit crystals grown from a compound on the approved compounds list or get approval for their compound prior to submission.

Judging criteria (excluding coolest crystal formation)

1. The crystal will be weighed, and the mass M recorded.

2. The quality of the crystal will be judged on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing a perfect crystal. Total Observed Quality Q = x.xx (out of 10) The following factors will be considered in judging quality:

    • match/mismatch with crystal type (out of 2)
    • presence/absence of occlusions (out of 2)
    • intact/broken edges (out of 2)
    • well formed/misformed faces (out of 2)
    • clarity/muddiness (out of 2)

3. The Total Score will then determined as follows:

    • Total Score = [log (M+10)] x Q
    • The logarithm of the mass plus 10 is chosen so that large poor quality crystals don’t swamp out smaller good quality crystals. Thus, a large (M=100. g) poor quality crystal (Q=5) and a small (M=0.5 g) high quality crystal (Q=10) would both earn a total score of 10.21 points.


Categories & Prizes

Subject to availability, participants will be provided with a Competition T-shirt and the opportunity to win trophies and prizes in several categories.

Participants may enter crystals individually or as a team (2-5 team members).

Registrants in the K-5th grade, 6th-8th grade, 9th grade – 12th grade, Clarion University Students, and Adults can compete by submitting their largest/best quality crystal. Crystals is this category will be judged by the rules listed above. Prizes in each of the categories include: $100 for 1st, $50 for 2nd, and $25 for 3rd.

Participants can also enter a submission in Coolest Crystal Formation Category. Submissions in this category do not need to be single crystals. Prizes for the Coolest Crystal Formations are also $100 for 1st, $50 for 2nd, and $25 for 3rd.

If you are interested in participating in the competition but would like some help getting started, join us at one of the Crystals at Clarion Events we are hosting on 2/9/19, 2/23/19 and 3/9/19.


List of Approved Compounds (selected for their relative safety and availability)

    • Potassium Aluminum Sulfate also known as “Alum”, KAl(SO4)2 ∙ 12H2O
    • Potassium Chromium Sulfate also known as “Chrome Alum”, KCr(SO4)2∙ 12H2O
    • Disodium Tetraborate also known as “Borax” Na2B4O7 ∙ 10H2O
    • Copper(II) Sulfate Pentahydrate also known as “Blue Vitrol” CuSO4 ∙ 5H2O
    • Monopotassium phosphate also known as “KDP” KH2PO4
    • Ammonium Magnesium Sulfate Hexahydrate (NH4)2Mg(SO4)2 ∙ 6H2O
    • Magnesium Sulfate Heptahydrate also known as “Epsom’s Salt” Mg(SO4) ∙ 7H2O
    • Potassium Sodium Tartrate also known as"Rochelle salt", KNaC4H4O6 ∙ 4H2O
    • Ammonoium Iron(II) Sulfate Hexahydrate AKA “Mohr’s salt” (NH4)2Fe(SO4)2 ∙ 6H2O
    • Potassium Ferricyanide also known as “Red Prussiate of Potash” K2Fe(CN)6
    • Copper Acetate Monohydrate Cu(CH3COO)2 ∙ H2O
    • Calcium Copper Acetate Hexahydrate CaCu(CH3COO)2 ∙ 6H2O
    • Sodium Chloride, NaCl
    • Sucrose, C12H22O11
    • Fructose, C6H12O6

Contest Time Line

Online registration for the event will open January 17, 2019 and close March 8, 2019. Crystals must arrive at Clarion University no later than March 14, 2019 for judging. The winning crystal submitters will be notified by March 22, 2019 and invited to make a presentation at the Clarion University Research Symposium on April 11, 2019.