Tony at work and play

“Inclusions as an art form”

Inclusions are irregularities that are found within many gemstones. They are an important diagnostic tool and can occur in the form of liquids, gas bubbles, minerals and combinations of these substances. They provide gemmologists with vital clues in identifying gems and can also help determine the origins of some species. Very few natural coloured gemstones are without inclusions of some sort and many of these microscopic features are very photogenic.

Often when examining crystal specimens I have found interesting and sometimes beautiful etched patterns and colourful scenes on cleavage planes and fracture surfaces. Viewed through a microscope, some gemstones and crystal specimens reveal amazing photogenic inclusions and surface features that could well be mistaken for abstract art.

Photographing these tiny phenomena requires a microscope and special lighting equipment. I use transmitted and dark-field illumination, sometimes combined with crossed polarizers, and also use two fibre-optic pin-point illuminators. With the use of various lighting techniques and careful composition, I have photomicrographed many of these unusual and artistic scenes. I hope to inspire other gemmologists to search for and photograph the elusive beauty of gemstone inclusions.

More inclusion pictures are on the ‘Home’ page.

On the study of gemstone inclusions: “It is a world of stability, security and harmony, this fascinating inner world of gemstones…to the investigator an assurance of intrinsic values, and to the artistic creator a source of new possibilities of artistic expression.” The late Dr. Eduard Gübelin, “Internal World of Gemstones.”

(To enlarge, please click on the photos.)