This is no photo– these are tiny, hyper-realistic, and exquisitely detailed oil paintings of semi-precious gemstones and minerals, painted by Toronto-based Carly Waito. She takes specimens of nature’s baubles to the microscope for a macro view of their intricacies, and all of this happens on canvas that can measure as small as 4.5 inches across.

Even the reference photos for her work are taken by herself, using her DSLR and a set of mirrors and lights. There is some incredible detail going on in these paintings, because they really do look just like photos! From her website:

From the seemingly limitless depths of Smoky Quartz to the chromatic, reflective facets of Sphalerite, the geometry and beauty of each painted specimen speaks to the incredible complexities of nature’s design as well as Waito’s own facility. Each painting expands the infinitesimal traits of the artist’s tiny subjects, rendering them as detailed maps of an otherwise invisible geological universe.

It really kills me that there are no visible brush strokes or any other indication that this is just a painting. As you scroll through her work, one breathtaking gem just follows another, and its hard to pull your eyes away. I can imagine these framed as a series of tiny jewels, waiting patiently for people to realize their potential on my apartment wall. [Via Fast Co. Design.]

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