What Does Iodine Look Like?

iodine-look-like Credit: Clive Streeter/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Solid iodine consists of shiny bluish-black crystals, but iodine vapors are a purple gas. Iodine is named after the appearance of the iodine vapors, as "iodes" is the Greek word for purple.

Iodine has such a strong color that it has been used in dyes for various functions, including basic printing and even medical diagnostic dyes. Although iodine is a useful element that's necessary for human health, it is very dangerous in its pure form. When working with elemental iodine in either the solid crystal or vapor phase, safety precautions must be taken, as the solid, concentrated form is highly dangerous.