Crystals are very popular in the electroforming world. They come in all shapes and colors and can be combined together to make stunning crystal jewelry. I have always been passionate about crystals, even more since I started electroforming them.
In this ultimate guide, I tell you everything you need to know to electroform crystals at home. Whether you’re wondering which crystals you can electroform or how to choose them, read on to discover my best tips and tricks on how to create beautiful electroformed crystal jewelry.
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What crystals can you electroform?
I believe you can electroform any crystal as long as you protect it properly. In fact, most crystals will dissolve or get damaged in the electroforming solution if they are not protected. There is a rule that says any crystal lower than a 7 on the MOH scale should be sealed.
However, it is also true that some crystals do not require sealing. For example, I have electroformed many Amethyst and Clear Quartz stones (both at 7 on the MOH scale) without sealing them. However, I like to seal all of my crystals just in case. I have once electroformed Rose Quartz points without sealing them first, and found they were a bit damaged when I removed them from the bath.
Some crystals like Opals, need to be extremely well sealed. I have never electroformed Opals but I know you they can get really damaged during electroforming.
See also: 10 useful electroforming tips for beginners
How to choose crystals for electroforming
If you’re not a crystal lover, you’ll probably have a hard time figuring out which crystals are best for electroforming. Also, if you intend to sell your crystal jewelry you should gather some knowledge on crystals and crystal healing beforehand. Because there are high chances your customers will ask you questions about that. So, here are some tips on how to choose the best crystals for electroforming:
- Choose popular crystals: If you have no idea which crystals to choose, I’d recommend looking into the most popular ones. They will be easy to find and probably low cost, which is great for beginners.
- Crystals that don’t need sealing: If you don’t want to be worried about losing one of your crystals in the bath, pick stones that don’t require much sealing like Clear Quartz or Amethyst for example.
- Color: Color and aesthetics is definitely something to consider when buying gemstones. After all, you want your electroformed crystal jewelry to be pretty, right? Choose stones that are flashy or sparkly. They usually attract more attention.
- Shape: Crystals come in many different shapes. Whether you want to get points, cabochons, or tumbled stones, make sure the shape of your chosen crystal will fit your design idea.
- Size: The size is another thing you should consider, especially if you’re making jewelry. Make sure the crystals you are getting are not too big or too heavy to be worn!
- Pick crystals you are attracted to: Last but not least, choose crystals that you are attracted to. You’ll be more likely to make great designs if you work with stones that you find pretty!
The best crystals for electroforming
Some crystals are definitely better than others for electroforming. For this list, I chose gemstones that don’t require much sealing and are very popular among crystal lovers! I love crystals myself, and I have worked with all the crystals I list below. As I said before, I definitely recommend you gather some knowledge about gemstones before your buy anything. So here are 10 of the best crystals for electroforming.
Quartz is definitely one of the most popular gemstones you can find. Most people who start a crystal collection will buy Clear Quartz or Amethyst as their first stone. For this reason, it’s the perfect stone for beginner electroformers. Quartz comes in many different colors but the most popular ones are Clear Quartz, Rose Quartz, and Aura Quartz. This gemstone looks really great electroformed, especially polished and raw points. Quartz is a 7 on the MOH scale so it technically doesn’t require much sealing. Unless you are getting Aura Quartz or Spirit Quartz, which both require sealing.
Who doesn’t know Amethyst? This crystal is probably the most famous crystal ever. Everyone loves Amethyst! And the great thing is, it’s really pretty! In my opinion, this is the best crystal for electroforming. First, because it is purple, and purple looks great with copper. And second, because it is so popular, that you will have greater chances of selling a piece that has an Amethyst on it. If you want to buy Amethyst, I definitely recommend getting raw clusters or points. They look pretty awesome electroformed!
I believe Labradorite is the most popular stone used in the electroforming world. It’s a stunning crystal that comes in many different shades of blue, green, yellow, and even purple. This gemstone is extremely popular among crystal lovers. Most of my best seller items had at least one labradorite on them. If you want to try electroforming crystals for the first time, I definitely recommend getting some labradorite stones. However, you should know that this crystal requires good sealing.
Moonstone is an extremely popular stone in the crystal world. With its pretty blue and yellow flashes, it attracts a lot of attention! This crystal is simply stunning once it’s electroformed. It’s one of the most beautiful crystals you can find in my opinion and it makes a great combination with Labradorite. This crystal requires good sealing, at least 2 coats of liquid latex.
Jasper comes in many different varieties and colors. I think this is one of the stones that come in the most varieties to be honest. This gemstone is extremely versatile and is actually my favorite crystal to electroform. The most popular jasper stones include Kambaba Jasper, Bumblebee Jasper, and Ocean Jasper. Jaspers don’t require much sealing, so they are just perfect for electroforming!
Fluorite is another really pretty crystal. This stone comes in green or in a beautiful rainbow version. I’d definitely recommend getting some Fluorite points if you can find them, they are just so pretty when electroformed! I have only electroformed Fluorite once, and I did seal the point so I would recommend sealing this gemstone even though I don’t think it would dissolve it the bath. However, it could get damaged.
Prehnite is a stunning green stone with black inclusions. It is a fantastic stone for electroforming because green works well with copper. Also, it doesn’t dissolve in the bath so you can make your design and electroform it straight away. Prehnite is not as easy to find as Amethyst or Quartz, but if you look around you should find some pretty cabochons.
8. Tiger’s Eye
Tiger’s Eye is another popular stone for beginners. It’s a beautiful brown stone and it’s very inexpensive. This common crystal can be found easily. It is a crystal that doesn’t require much sealing. The only thing is that since it is brown, it will not pop out of your design if you electroform in copper. But still, it’s a pretty stone and I recommend getting it if you’re a beginner.
Aventurine is another really popular gemstone in the crystal world. In fact, when I first started electroforming I got Quartz and Aventurine as my first crystals. Green Aventurine is a beautiful stone and it looks really great electroformed. You can also find it in orange. Aventurine often comes in the shape of tumbled stones, beads, or polished cabochons. This crystal doesn’t require much sealing.
Agate is often dyed and comes in many different colors including red, green, and blue. I often get small Agate gems for rings. This stone is very easy to find online. It can be electroformed with no sealing whatsoever so it really is a great stone to start with. However, it is not one of the most popular stones, so maybe it would be best to combine it with a more popular crystal.
Where to buy crystals for electroforming
I buy most of my crystals online. Most of the time, I browse Etsy and eBay. I avoid places like Amazon or Aliexpress that sell crystals in bulk or for very cheap. There are a lot of fake crystals online, so try to be careful about that. Just be aware of offers that are too good to be true, read reviews, and trust your gut! I have written a blog post about where to buy crystals online on my other website, click here to read it.
If you are worried about getting fake stones, I’d recommend going to your local crystal shop. At least you’ll be able to browse, see the stones for yourself, and choose the ones you prefer.
How to protect crystals for electroforming
There are several ways to protect crystals for electroforming. I use liquid latex to protect all my stones (and everything that requires sealing for that matter). Liquid latex is easy to use and is just perfect for protecting gemstones. Usually, I apply 2 or 3 coats of the product on my crystals right before I put them in the bath. On top of that, liquid latex is super easy to remove. You just have to peel it off.
When I first started electroforming, I was using nail polish to protect my stones. This also works but I found that it didn’t work well for stones like Labradorite. They needed a better coating and something thicker on their surface. Ever since I switched to liquid latex, I’ve never used anything else. Also, nail polish isn’t the best for crystal clusters or crystals that have crevasses. You’ll have a really hard time removing the nail polish stuck in there after electroforming.
See also: How to seal crystals with liquid latex
List of crystals that require sealing:
Here is a non-exhaustive list of crystals that require sealing. I have made this list based on my personal experience, so there might be a lot more gemstones that need sealing. When in doubt, just seal everything!
- Aura Quartz
- Lapis Lazuli
- Ruby in Zoisite
- Spirit Quartz
How to electroform crystals
You can electroform crystals just like you’d electroform anything else. The only thing is that you really must protect your gemstones before you put them in the bath. Here is a step by step process on how I electroform my crystal jewelry:
1. Make your design
First things first, you have to make your design. To make a design with crystals you can use epoxy clay, polymer clay, or copper tape. Don’t hesitate to combine crystals. Some go really well together aesthetically. Also, some people believe in crystals’ healing powers so you can also consider that when combining them.
See also: Polymer clay vs epoxy clay: which is best for electroforming?
2. Apply copper paint
Once your design is finished and your epoxy cured, you can apply your copper conductive paint. This is kind of obvious, but don’t apply paint on your crystals or they will be covered in copper after electroforming. Only apply paint where you want copper to form. Make sure you paint well around the edges of your stone so that there won’t be any gaps once your piece is finished.
3. Protect your stone
This is the most important step in the process. Apply one coat of liquid latex on the surface of your crystal. Wait for it to dry. Apply a second coat. Get as close as possible to the copper paint but make sure you are not putting any latex on the paint. Otherwise, it won’t plate.
If you don’t have liquid latex, you can do the same process with clear nail polish.
Put your crystal jewelry in the bath and electroform as usual. If you check after a few hours and notice that your crystal is starting to dissolve. Take it out of the bath and seal it again properly. Then, put it back in the bath to finish electroforming.
5. Remove sealant
Once you’re done electroforming, you can remove the sealant. However, if you polish with a steel wool pad, it makes a lot of small particles that can get into your crystal’s crevasses. Then, it’s really hard to clean up. So, you can leave the sealing until you finish your piece and remove it only after polishing.
See also: How to finish copper electroformed jewelry
Crystals are fascinating and very popular among electroformers. If you’re a beginner, I definitely recommend getting crystals that are easy to find and that don’t require much sealing. That way, you won’t have to worry about losing a stone in the electroforming bath.
Whether you want to buy online or at a local crystal shop, don’t forget to check if the size and shape will fit your design idea. Also, it would be a good idea to get some clear nail polish or liquid latex to seal the surface of your crystals and protect them during the electroforming process. After that, you can just electroform your stones like you would anything else! Have you tried electroforming crystals yet? Let me know in the comments below!