Warut sends me two kinds of things every once in a while: Emails linking to eBay items which I invariable end up spending money on, because he has such a good eye for things I will want. And actual element samples, like this pretty little magnesium crystal. It broke off a much larger crystal he got from China, and while I would of course love to have a great big crystal like his, this one is actually an ideal size for photography, because you can see the fine detail that would be invisible in a photograph of a larger sample. The 3D rotation video of this sample is particularly attractive.
I don't know the origin of this material other than that it's from China, but I would speculate that it's from an electrolytic refining process, and would probably normally have been melted down into useful products.
Reader Eric Winter has kindly pointed me to this article which indicates it's probably vapor deposited in the "Pidgeon process".
I chose this sample to represent its element in my Photographic Periodic Table Poster. The sample photograph includes text exactly as it appears in the poster, which you are encouraged to buy a copy of.
Source: Warut Roonguthai
Contributor: Warut Roonguthai
Acquired: 5 November, 2005
Text Updated: 7 April, 2009