The element silicon best represents the digital era of the mid 20th century to the present; without its crystalline form, there would be no computers (or this blog). Although it was first prepared in pure amorphous (powder) form around 1823 by Berzelius, it was not until 1854 that Henri Sainte-Claire Deville made it in crystalline form, using metallic aluminium to isolate it. He described it  as having a “metallic luster”.
- "The discovery of the elements. XII. Other elements isolated with the aid of potassium and sodium: Beryllium, boron, silicon, and aluminum", 1932. http://doi.org/10.1021/ed009p1386