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Curse you evolution for crafting our eyes in such a way as to miss such microscopic splendor!

Magnified at 250x by Professor Gary Greenberg at the University College of London, the individual grains of sand look like gemstones or beautiful miniature seashells, and also help illustrate which larger rock they crumbled from, its parent material.

As grains of sand are small enough to begin with, Professor Greenberg had to develop a new form of magnification photography to avoid the shallow depth of field he was encountering before:

“I take dozens of pictures at different points of focus then combine them using software to produce my images. Although the pictures look simple each grain of sand can take hours to photograph in a way that I am happy with.”

Professor Greenberg is selling signed copies of his book for $20 from his website.

[Via Sand Grains]