Life Lessons Hidden in Geology
The state of something, especially with regard to its appearance, quality, or working order.
The circumstances affecting the way in which people live or work, especially with regard to their safety or well-being. *Definitions from dictionary.com
Using these two definitions, I can safely say that the condition of the Quartz I use in my jewelry is a direct result from the conditions they were formed in. I think it is also safe to say that in life our own conditions are a result of the conditions we grow up in or choose to surround ourselves in.
In regards to the stones, each one is amazingly different from the next and often times their appearances are exact opposites. Some stones are clear as ice, others are solid white. Some have veins of color running through them, some are spotless. Some are smooth while others have rough spots of sandstone still present. Some are considered Crystals because of their faceted sides and pointy tips and some are considered Rock Quartz because that’s what they resemble-- a rock. Despite the vast differences, they are all still made up of the same elements- SiO2. Silicia Dioxide. Regardless of their inconsistencies in appearance, they are all still minerals.
In regards to people there are the obvious opposites. Women and men, black and white, old and young, rich and poor. There are more detailed traits such as introvert or extrovert, right brain or left brain, passionate or apathetic, leader or follower, accepted or outcast. Regardless of our differences though, we are all still human.
The thing I love most about working with Quartz is that they paint such a beautiful picture for the human condition. I think they are rich with analogies that we can all learn from. For instance, what determines their opacity? Why are some transparent and some totally opaque? It’s the amount of water present during their formation that influences that characteristic. The more water, the more air bubbles which means the cloudier the silica which results in a whiter stone. The less water present leads to a clearer stone. What about their discolorations? Some, as they form, fold in their surroundings. In a red clay mine, that means you’re going to get iron inclusions which results in hues ranging from pink to brown throughout the white Quartz. Why do some have rough patches of sandstone on them? Often times, Quartz will form off of a host rock. Here in Arkansas, we see this being the case with shale and sandstone. Those rough patches are evidence of its past, clues about where it was formed.
How true are these conditions for us?! Sometimes, we allow in so much influence that our authentic selves are clouded. We question our identity because the noise of opinion and suggestion haven’t been filtered out. What happens when we begin to fold in the character of the people around us into our own character? Sometimes great things happen but sometimes it can become our downfall. What about our pasts? Our stories? Our own “rough patches” that are evidence of where we’ve come from? Have we let that define us resigning ourselves to no other outcome? Have we tried to file it down and minimize it so that hopefully no one will ever know? Or have we acknowledged it, allowing forgiveness into the story and therefore letting that part of our history become an addition of our character rather than a definition of self?
I see so many similarities in how our life conditions and circumstances affect our condition and view of ourselves. But yet why is it still so much harder to appreciate the nuances of humanity than it is of simple, common, stones? What if we stopped the poisonous self-hate, self-deprecation, and competitive comparison and instead started a new movement that advocated worth and value over appearing a certain way? What if we raised our young girls to cherish their God-given bodies rather than view them as something in need of changing? What if we women, scarred from childbirth, wrinkled with age, sagging with gravity walked boldly in our bodies that have done amazing things?
At every show I’ve taken my jewelry to, I hear people marvel at how different each stone is, changing the way a whole necklace looks or a pair of earrings looks. What if we marveled the same way at each other?