Crystals are defined as a body, generally solid, whose atoms are arranged in a definite pattern by a geometrical form with plane faces; and crystallography is the science of the structure, forms, and properties of crystals.
As with other jewels and gemstones previously featured on The Carat Soup (e.g. opals), formation conditions have to be precise, and timing (exploration, discovery, mining) is everything. The internal and external characteristics play an influential role in determining the features of crystals; one of the more appealing features is colour. They come in an array of colours, and the determining factor of how we see and observe colour is directly linked to the absorption of light (as is the case with diamonds and many gemstones regardless of the source rock, and source country). An example of a fine colour display is Azurite, which is the same source as, and often found close to malachite. At the mine, it is found as structurally well-formed crystals in alluring hues of blue (hence the name Azurite, from azure).
A well-known source in Africa is the Tsumeb (now known as Ongopolo) Mine in northern Namibia. To ensure the jeweller and wearer make full use of the exquisite blue, it is usually cut and fashioned into smaller stones – taking full advantage of the colour. It would be a real shame to cut Azurite en cabochon or into larger pieces, as the azure colour would be ‘lost’ leaving a dull shade of black. Even during ancient times to wholly enjoy the colour, Azurite was used as pigment (in a powder).
When crystals and ceramics meet in the form of art, the result is utterly extraordinary. We previously questioned what constitutes art, as such absolutely understand that perhaps not everybody would welcome these works of art on the table in their vestibule, however what we can say for certain is one seldom sees these mediums together. The juxtaposition between the entrancing qualities of crystal – sharp faces and geometric patterns, beside the delicate and curve-edged fragility of ceramics, is simply marvellous. The natural beauty found in Mother Nature is never-ending, and shall always render us speechless.