Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wonders of Minerals

Last winter I took time to visit the Smithsonian Naturalist Center in Leesburg, Virginia. I had been there before but on this occasion I looked into the Mineral cabinets where I found Micro Mounts of minerals. I had read about them but this was my first real life look and they were enchanting and wonderful. Really big things and really small things are fascinating and can give one a sense of awe so I think that is why sometimes the early creators of Wonder Cabinets included miniatures or things found in nature or man-made.

When I first looked through a microscope to view a mineral micromount my first thought was WOW. Then I looked at the box that was less than an inch square and back again through the scope. I couldn’t believe my eyes, these miniature structures were so beautiful and yet so hidden without the aid of a lens.

Each box is a little less than a one inch square.

Being the collector that I am I had to make some of these mounts for myself. It just so happen there was an Annual Mineral Micromount show near Baltimore Maryland, so off I went to ask the experts how it is done. Like most people who have a hobby they love, they were generous with their expertise and even gave me some chunks of minerals to begin with. Below are some of the ones I isolated and mounted.

You need a hand lens or microscope to really appreciate them. The way crystals form into different shapes is fascinating and to see these tiny perfect examples is a delight to the eyes and worthy of a place in the Wonder Cabinet.


Carolyn H said...

Squirrel: Very interesting. i've never heard of micromounts before. I've never had much luck finding crystals of any kind. I don't think Pennsylvania or at least my area of the state, is very good for them. Unfortunately.

squirrel said...

Carolyn, WV isn't a good source for minerals either. Most of the ones I have came from Virginia, New Jersey and other states. My reagion is made up of sedimentary rocks and we would need metemorphic rock and volcanic rock to get minerals but it is still worth a look. Thanks for the comment.