Despite humankind’s many technological and architectural innovations, the planet still finds ways to surprise and outshine us. Chock-full of natural wonders—from the towering redwood trees in California to the tiniest ants under our feet—Earth somehow finds new ways to amaze us.
Still, we sometimes get so caught up in the majesty of plant and animal life that we forget nature has more subtle, but no less breathtaking, facets. Take minerals, for example.
If we consider them at all, it’s usually in practical contexts, like in jewelry. But the world’s collection of naturally occurring gems is pretty impressive on its own. Take a look!