This deliquescent chemical compound is most commonly found in nonahydrate form of colorless to pale violet crystals. Its preparation is extremely simple, requiring the treatment of powdered iron metal with nitric acid. As a catalyst, it is the first choice for synthesizing sodium amide from the sodium found in ammonia. It is often added to and mixed with certain types of clays that often prove useful as oxidants in organic synthesis processes. Additionally, ferric nitrate solutions are used by metalsmiths and jewelers when etching silver or silver alloys. It has uses in petrochemical cracking, water treatment, automotive catalysts, research, textiles, plating, and optic, crystal, laser, and glass applications. The higher the purity of ferric nitrate, the greater its effect on the improvement of optical quality and its usefulness as a scientific standard. Typically, Ferric Nitrate is added as part of solution for most of its applicable purposes, and the nonahydrate powdered form is kept on hand for the production or manufacturing of such solutions as needed.