Brilliant Examples of Photomicrography Featuring the Enchanting Beauty of Gemstones

Negative crystal in spinel, Vietnam
Negative crystal in spinel, Vietnam

Photographer Danny J. Sanchez has a deep interest in gems. He not only has a passion for how they look externally, but an equal amount of curiosity for how they look inside.  Sanchez is an enthusiast when it comes to photomicrography, which he practices on gemstones with interesting and unique results.

Dolomite in quartz with rutile, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Dolomite in quartz with rutile, Minas Gerais, Brazil

He sets up various gemstones with the inclusion he would like to shoot under a microscope in a very precise way, focusing carefully measured amount of light.  Sometime he will take as many as 120 shots, using a technique called focus stacking to come-up with his images.

Rutile on hematite in quartz, Novo Horizonte, Bahia, Brazil
Rutile on hematite in quartz, Novo Horizonte, Bahia, Brazil

It is a skill and method that takes years to perfect.  Sanchez’ pictures are no doubt works of art and they can be bought framed or in the format of a greeting card. Among his images one can see a negative crystal in spinel, a muscovite in quartz, rutile in quartz, dolomite in quartz as well as biotite in topaz, among others.

Hematite bloom in quartz, Brazil
Hematite bloom in quartz, Brazil

One can find an entire universe within a single piece of quartz, simply by observing their inclusions. Gem inclusions are frequently thought of as detrimental things. However, inclusions can present many advantages, such as helping us to know the origin of a stone, or if it has been affected by heat or chemicals. The many shapes and patterns and geological histories of each stone can best be observed under a microscope, given their minute nature.

Staining within an etch tube in quartz, Brazil
Staining within an etch tube in quartz, Brazil

Sanchez is a native Los Angelino, and his mastery of photomicrography allows the capture of these stones to be both brilliant and artistic. His images illustrate the minerals within other minerals, or more evocatively, the negative spaces left behind by ‘ghost’ crystals that have long left but which still; have left their deep-seated impressions. At times even petroleum is observable, seen captured inside a piece of quartz as both materials formed at the same time under the Earth. Looking at pictures like these is fascinating as you are actually examining the work of millions of years.

Quartz with black inclusions within negative crystals, Brazil
Quartz with black inclusions within negative crystals, Brazil

Experience the amazing photomicrography of Sanchez here.

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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.