“But they are not the only minerals, these precious ones, these objects of old association, whose names, Almandine and Emerald, Topaz and Garnet, Jargoon and Diamond, Amethyst and Ruby, so ring and so sparkle in the darkness of the mind. All of them, all the jewels in the jewel rooms of emperors, czars, sultans, dwarfs, dragons and merchants of Hatton Gardens, viewed by the dog, are no more, again, than ordinary stones, no more than crystallizations of common chemical elements or extracted and polished fragments of the crust of the earth we live on.
“Should we not look also at the more vulgar minerals, some of which in shape and arrangement, if not in color, are revealed so astonishingly in the photographs of this book? And revealed as friends, no less than Ivan the Terrible’s rubies and amethysts, to grace and to virtue? They may have no associations, we may have to look at them as at neutral objects; but we should look at them with our own human eye, and not with the dog’s eye, which I have mentioned less to cry down or disallow precious stones or dull their authentic strangeness and glory, than to emphasize the kinship of treasured and untreasured, of the minerals with history and the minerals without. Everyone knows what to say in front of a Botticelli, but in front of a painting by an unknown artist from Balham or Skibbereen it is our own eye we have to trust.”
— from “The Past in Stone” by Geoffrey Grigson, in the 1957 British photo book about rocks, all illustrated in glorious black & white: The Living Rocks. Preface by Andre Maurois of the Academie française with a commentary by Geoffrey Grigson, and photos and magnifications by Stévan Célébonovic. Translations by Joyce Emerson & Stanley A. Pocock. London: Phoenix House . p. 8.