Beauty Everywhere: Grains of Sand are Unique Jewels

Sand Under Microscope Looks Like Jewels

My mom sent me that pollination video and I got some great feedback that everyone liked it. So here’s another post via my mom who is nearly 90-years-old! Kudos to her for being active online and sending me great stuff to post! I think she reads my blog too!

Who knew that grains of sand were more unique than patterns of a snowflake? The article she sent me is here. Something to ponder as you lie on the beach!

What is Sand?

Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles. The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal settings is silica (silicon dioxide, or SiO2), usually in the form of quartz.

The second most common form of sand is calcium carbonate, for example aragonite, which has mostly been created, over the past half billion years, by various forms of life like coral and shellfish. It is, for example, the primary form of sand apparent in areas where reefs have dominated the ecosystem for millions of years, like the Caribbean.

Microscope Photography of Nature

Prof Greenberg, who searches through thousands of tiny rocks with acupuncture needles to find and arrange the most perfect specimens, then uses a painstaking technique to create his images.

He has spent five years searching the globe for remarkable sand grains like these to photograph. from Daily Mail

Deep Look: The Amazing Life of Sand

Books for Kids and Adults on Wondrous Sand

A Grain of Sand: Nature’s Secret Wonder by Gary Greenberg

This is his book. I’d get it for the coffee table!

“To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower. To hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.”
William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence” 1805

Here is the world viewed within a grain of sand, thanks to the stunning three-dimensional microphotography of Dr. Gary Greenberg. To some, all sand looks alike–countless grains in a vast expanse of beach. Look closer–much closer–and your view of sand will never be the same. Employing the fantastic microphotographic techniques that he developed, Greenberg invites readers to discover the strange and wonderful world that each grain of sand contains. 

Here are the sands of Hawaii and Tahiti, the Sahara and the Poles, a volcano, each exquisitely different, and each telling a fascinating geological story. Red sand and yellow, white sand and black, singing sand and quicksand: Greenberg’s pictures reveal the subtle differences in their colors, textures, sizes, and shapes. And as this infinitesimal world unfolds so does an intriguing explanation of how each grain of sand begins and forms and finds itself in a particular place, one of a billion and one of a kind.


And the images might conjure up interest in your child. If so, this might be a good book to hunt down at the library…

Jump Into Science: Sand by Ellen J. Prager

What is sand? How is it formed? Where does sand come from? How does it get to the beach? Why is it different colors? Let the sandpiper sleuth show you the answers to these questions in this lively, collage-style look at a familiar substance that’s never been so fascinating: sand. 

Parents’ Choice Approved Winner 

“A striking success…an outstanding choice…a fascinating, lively presentation.” —School Library Journal

Or an interest in seeing things under a microscope …

My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope, $63. 

Click on image to view at Amazon.

Follow PragmaticMom’s board Science Fun on Pinterest.

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Artchoo!

    These are completely the coolest things ever. In fact, I pinned to my “coolest Things Ever” board. This reminds me that I need to buy a new microscope, too. Ours is junk and there are plenty of tiny, fun things that need to be looked at around here.
    Artchoo! recently posted…Don’t Forget the Tie Dyed Napkin When Packing Your Kids’ LunchMy Profile

  2. Ann

    I definitely want to get a microscope for my kids! These grains for sand are so cool! Great find Pragmatic Mom’s mom!
    Ann recently posted…Lawn MowerMy Profile

  3. prewchatterly

    nice share! another food for thought! love grains of sand too!
    prewchatterly recently posted…Baby Gift Giving Tips for the Clueless Non-ParentMy Profile

  4. Love this – we have an old microscope from the old Newton North – the kind with the mirror – love to use it.
    Capability recently posted…Simple No Need to Cook Meals (as I hang on to the last vestiges of summer)My Profile

  5. Asianmommy

    Wow–these are beautiful! I always wondered what sand was made of.
    Asianmommy recently posted…Rabbit Days and DumplingsMy Profile

  6. Love, love, love! TY!
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