Waco Gem and Mineral Club, Waco, Tx

Badge 17 Special Effects

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17. Special Effects

To earn this badge, you‘ll need to learn about what causes certain 'special effects' in some rocks and minerals. For instance, what causes 'cat‘s eye' effect and what rocks or minerals typically exhibit that effect? These are fun rocks to share with friends, so you should also start a collection of these special minerals and maybe hold an Amazing Mineral Magic Show!

Activity 17.1: Magnetism

What is magnetism and what causes it? Name the two basic types of magnetism, and name at least three magnetic minerals. Provide a demonstration of magnetism.

Activity 17.2: Triboluminescence

Learn to pronounce the long word 'triboluminescence' and explain what it means. Demonstrate triboluminescence in a darkened room with two quartz crystals and with Wint-o-Green Life Savers candy.

Activity 17.3: Birefringence, or Double Refraction

What is birefringence and what causes it? Name one common mineral that causes birefringence, or double refraction, and provide a demonstration of it to your fellow club members.

Activity 17.4: Chatoyancy: Cat‘s Eye and Asterism

What causes chatoyancy? Explain it to your fellow club members and show them how it works with a common spool of sewing thread under a bright light. Name at least three minerals that are often cut into cabs exhibiting cat‘s eye and/or asterism.

Activity 17.5: Natural Fiber Optics, or 'TV Stone'

A mineral called ulexite, when cut and polished on top and bottom, can magically lift words from a page and display them on its surface. How does it do that? Amaze your friends by demonstrating this for them.

Activity 17.6: Phantoms and Inclusions

Explain how phantoms and inclusions form. What is an enhydro? Show your fellow club members an example of a crystal with a phantom or inclusion.

Activity 17.7: Other Special Effects

Learn about other special effects not listed above. How many others can you name and explain?

Activity 17.8: The Amazing Mineral Magic Show!

Either with fellow club members or on your own, host a 'magic show' at one of your meetings to highlight special effects of some of these amazing minerals.