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What Are Minerals?

Minerals are a fundamental grouping of being in our understanding of our world. From ancient times "Mineralia" was differentiated from "Animalia" and "Vegitalia", the latter two termed Vitae, Living. The taxonomic groupings termed Vitae formed the basis for the orderly scientific study of living things, eventually evolving into the system of Binomial Nomenclature we use today.


Mineralia encompassed everything else, non-life, the ground beneath our feet and its components. Generally named for a physical property or use, location or name of initial discovery or discoverer and of course, in more recent times, chemical composition. Minerals are defined, but there is room for a variance that provides a vast array of visual presentations for very similar mineral types. The broadest divisions of mineral classification are native elements, sulfides, sulfosalts, oxides and hydroxides, halides, carbonates, nitrates, borates, sulfates, phosphates, and silicates.


The orderly, lattice-like arrangement of a mineral (or any solid for that matter ;^) is a crystal. Crystals form under specific circumstances, small variations in content can change colors dramatically. For example, Beryl is a crystalline mineral that includes the subtypes Emerald, Aquamarine, Goshenite and Morganite. Slight additions the crystals structure alters the way light reflects and refracts.


I have always found it fascinating that all the amazing mineral and crystal specimens we have had the opportunity to work with at Studio Mineralia Earth Art Gallery were formed in the dark. Color is a property of reflected light, and in its absence we are left with a Schrödinger-esq dilemma, which has informed our artistic approach to creative mineral photography.

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