Brilliant Collection of Photomicrographs Show a Universe of Colors and Shapes

Polarized light photomicrograph of a thin section of Ocean Jasper, Madagascar
Polarized light photomicrograph of a thin section of Ocean Jasper, Madagascar

Whether a rock is from India, Antarctica, the Alps, Lipari, Canada, Madagascar or from Veneto, their different histories is not really very important. Rocks all share the general attribute of concealing an unobserved world. Professor Bernardo Cesare calls it micROCKScopica,  that  “along with an exciting geological history, every piece of rock hides an universe of colors and shapes, that can be disclosed with a microscope and utilizing polarized light.”

Macro shot of the surface of a sample of Ocean Jasper showing the variety of colors and textures of spherulites
Macro shot of the surface of a sample of Ocean Jasper showing the variety of colors and textures of spherulites

This collection by Cesare, uncovers their unseen beauty, through the pictures of thin films of rock that show the exquisite elegance and grace inside common stones. The pictures show both the geometry and meticulous order of crystal formation, and the pandemonium and unpredictability that distinguishes the natural processes of development and evolution of the Earth. An analysis of the pictures will reveal a dominance of repeating geometric patterns or arbitrary distributions of faintly hued areas.

Polarized light photomicrograph of a thin section of Ocean Jasper showing the details of one spherulite consisting of fibrous microcrystalline quartz (Chalcedony)
Polarized light photomicrograph of a thin section of Ocean Jasper showing the details of one spherulite consisting of fibrous microcrystalline quartz (Chalcedony)

These photomicrographs of rocks by Cesare are fascinating, not only because of their strange appearances and visual richness, but also because they exude an enigmatic aura, suggesting to an observer all sorts of imaginative guesses as to what they really represent.

Polarized light photomicrograph of a thin section of Ocean Jasper showing two spherulites consisting of fibrous microcrystalline quartz (Chalcedony)
Polarized light photomicrograph of a thin section of Ocean Jasper showing two spherulites consisting of fibrous microcrystalline quartz (Chalcedony)

Cesare however explains what they exactly are in his page, saying,

“These macro and micro photographs depict a gemstone, a variety of jasper called Ocean Jasper, found only in Madagascar. Scientifically speaking its origin hasn’t been investigated extensively, so that the way it acquired its beauty and its peculiar features – starting from a quite ordinary volcanic rock – is far from being known. Ocean Jasper has become a fairly collectible stones for lapidary, as its mines are either out of production, or located below sea level.”

“Rosettes” of quartz in an Ocean Jasper
“Rosettes” of quartz in an Ocean Jasper

You can explore this phenomenon and professor Cesare’s work in his website.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I’m talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.