Silicon is a crystalline chemical element with the symbol Si. It is an extremely common element by mass, but rarely occurs in its pure form – typically as silicon dioxide (silica) or other silicate minerals.

Showing the single result

Appearance, Uses and History

Silicon is a crystalline chemical element with the symbol Si. It is an extremely common element by mass, but rarely occurs in its pure form – typically as silicon dioxide (silica) or other silicate minerals.

In its pure form, it is a crystalline mass with a blue-grey metallic luster, very reflective.

Throughout history most silicon was used in its impure forms, the silicate minerals, in construction and ceramics – clays, silica sands, mortar, concrete, porcelain, and certain types of glass.

Silicon carbide is used as an abrasive, known as carborundum. The abrasive is commonly used in sandpapers, abrasive belts, resin abrasive wheels, etc.

When it occurs naturally, Silicon carbide is known as moissanite, an incredibly rare mineral. Synthetic moissanites are often used as a replacement for Diamonds.

Silicon is also used to make silicones, which are widely used as synthetic polymers.

Silicon has played a huge role in the modern age, as it is used in semiconductors, electronics, circuitboards and chips – essentially, the modern world runs on silicon. There’s a reason the American home of technology companies is called “Silicon Valley”!


It’s difficult to establish any locales for Silicon itself as it doesn’t occur often in its elemental form. Most pure (or near pure) Silicon is lab created by a reduction process.


Elemental: An element with the symbol Si – occurs in nature rarely but is often lab-created.
Silicon Carbide: Lab created abrasive with the formula SiC.
Colours and Variations

Elemental silicon: Elemental silicon is blue-grey, shiny and typically bears marks on at least one face from the process with which it was created.

Silicon carbide: an iridescent abrasive created during the production of Iron.

Elemental silicon: Black
Silicon carbide: harder than streak plates
Elemental silicon: metallic
Silicon carbide: metallic
Elemental silicon: conchoidal
Silicon carbide: splintery
Elemental silicon: opaque
Silicon carbide: opaque
Crystal habit
Elemental silicon: lab grown in boules.
Silicon carbide: lab grown as boules or jagged, sharp aggregates.
Mohs hardness
Elemental silicon: 7
Silicon carbide: 9
Specific Gravity
Elemental silicon: 2.3
Silicon carbide: 3.1
Elemental silicon:
Silicon carbide:
Easiest testing method
Elemental silicon:
Silicon carbide: appearance, hardness, abrasive properties.
Common Treatments
Typically lab-grown.

Photos of Silicon

Photos of Silicon Carbide

Silicon carbide, SiC
Silicon carbid - topview
Moissanite (synthetic silicon carbide) 4

Hazards and Warnings

Almost all rocks, minerals (and, frankly, almost all other substances on earth) can produce toxic dust when cutting, which can cause serious respiratory conditions including silicosis.

When cutting or polishing rocks, minerals, shells, etc, all work should be done wet to minimise the dust, and a suitable respirator or extraction system should be used.



  • السيليكون (silicon)
  • كربيد السيليكون (silicon carbide)
  • كربورندم (carborundum)


  • सिलिकॉन (silicon)
  • सिलिकन कार्बाइड (silicon carbide)
  • कारबरंडम (carborundum)


  • silício (silicon)
  • carboneto de silício (silicon carbide)


  • সিলিকন (silicon)
  • সিলিকন কার্বাইড (silicon carbide)


  • silikon (silicon)
  • silikon karbida (silicon carbide)


  • ਸਿਲੀਕਾਨ (silicon)
  • ਸਿਲੀਕਾਨ ਕਾਰਬਾਈਡ (silicon carbide)
  • ਕਾਰਬਰੁੰਡਮ (carborundum)


  • silicon
  • silicon carbide
  • carborundum


  • silicio (silicon)
  • carburo di silicio (silicon carbide)


  • кремний (silicon)
  • Карбид кремния (silicon carbide)
  • карборунд (carborundum)


  • silicium (silicon)
  • carbure de silicium (silicon carbide)


  • ケイ素 (silicon)
  • 炭化ケイ素 (silicon carbide)
  • カーボランダム (carborundum)


  • silicio (silicon)
  • carburo de silicio (silicon carbide)
  • carborundo  (carborundum)


  • Silizium (silicon)
  • Siliziumkarbid (silicon carbide)
  • Karborund (carborundum)



  • ซิลิคอน (silicon)
  • ซิลิคอนคาร์ไบด์ (silicon carbide)


Mandarin and Traditional Chinese:

  • 硅 / 矽(silicon)
  • 碳化硅 / 碳化矽 (silicon carbide)
  • 金刚砂 / 金剛砂(carborundum)


  • سلکان (silicon)
  • سلکان کاربائڈ (silicon carbide)
  • کاربورنڈم (carborundum)

Further Reading / External Links