This is the third time I have tried to present this stone in the Tektite Teasers column. I just haven’t been able to do it justice. It is really hard to get a pleasing photograph of this complex piece.
In describing the challenge of trying to capture the essence of this gem in a photograph, I find myself saying that you really need to hold this one to get a grasp on what it is. Turn it over in your fingertips. Fondle its form and symmetry.
A voice pipes up in the dark rows high in the back of the auditorium:
“Aha! We always knew you were a little dingy about tektites. We’ve wondered about you and your infatuation. And now you’re telling us to explore it “with our fingertips” and “fondle it”. Can you see where I am going with this? You’ve lost it man—“
See? That’s what happens every time. Some version of that guy in the back row knocks me off the rails and the story doesn’t get written. But if you will bear with me for a little while, I will prove him completely wrong.
This is an extremely sculptural piece. Expand it to the scale of public art and it would look intriguing anywhere—in the lobby of a magnificent hotel—or in a children’s playground.
But you really do need to turn it in your fingers to grasp the marvelous thing that it is.
Imagine a rivulet of molten glass. It advances like a bulldozer track. At this small size, it is losing heat quickly. A stretchy skin forms on the surface and is inflated and over-ridden by the molten interior, granted a bit of extra life by the insulating skin. It rolls forward, the surface skin rolling over the nose like a waterfall, then transforming into an insulating carpet laying upside down on the substrate. As cooling finally outruns the internal supply of melt, the highly viscous glass assumes deep, bulbous, stretchy features and freezes solid.
It is intuitively certain that many variations on this theme will form anytime molten glass flows like a stream. That it happens is not in question. But finding a fine example? A vanishingly small possibility.
In the face of that improbability, here is one. It is quite possibly the only known example of its kind. With that unveiling, a bright crystal fairy with diamond slippers and a wand trailing prismatic sparks spins across the stage and the curtains close.
(Now maybe if one of you could explain to that guy in the back row that this is a completely reasonable and fully justified utilization of the word “fondle”, I would be most appreciative. In exchange, he can continue using the words “a little dingy”, but he must refrain from use of any phrases expressing the sentiments of words like “a bit too far” or “off in la-la land” or “completely stark-raving nutters” Especially that one. That’s a deal-breaker.).