I’ve been experiencing some synchronicity in relation to crystals recently, so thought it was about time I wrote some blog posts about them. Crystals are something I’ve always been interested in, and a large solid sphere of rose quartz that I received for my 21st birthday is among my most treasured possessions; but there’s always been something holding me back from diving head-on into an enthusiasm for these mineral friends. The thing I am referring to will be familiar to anyone who has ever entered a new-age or Theosophical Society bookstore, and was once succinctly described by my friend Jerome as The Purple Horror. As you might expect, one of the best books available on crystals features a cover that suffers terribly from a case of the purple horror - so much so that a friend of mine went to the effort of covering hers with black contact so she didn’t have to look at it ever again. I’m considering doing the same to mine…but in the meantime, I’ve been really enjoying this beautiful King Penguin book from 1952 which features one of the coolest book covers I’ve ever seen, inspired by the beautiful mineral Malachite.
The very same day that I’d been discussing my love of crystal illustrations with my friend Jeanne, who recently included some in a painting she did, a customer of mine brought this book in as reference for a tattoo of jewel that she’s getting. I immediately jotted down the name and found myself a copy on Bookfinder (best website ever), because I really love these scientific illustrations and don’t come across them very often. My scanner’s not the best so I photographed the most interesting illustrations, all by an artist named Arthur Smith, for you to enjoy.
This first illustration is definitely my favourite. Something about the combination of the triangular facets of the quartz and the more organic composition of the minerals growing on it just seems magical to me. I have a bit of a thing for this trinity of colours too, pink yellow and blue being visually harmonious variants of the classic primary colours. Also, as Shaun pointed out, with its overlapping triangles it rather resembles a Valknut.
Since discovering this book I’ve also been led to a whole host of other crystal art which I intend to share when I have a spare minute. I’ve also been inspired to use the skills I’m learning in my botanical illustration class to do some paintings of minerals that interest me in the same sort of style. First on my list is my current favourite stone, Moss Agate, which is reputed to encourage a stronger relationship with plants among other useful qualities.