Snowflakes — those intricate, one-of-a-kind ice crystals — form when precipitation falls through varying levels of humidity and temperatures in the air. While plenty has been written about the science of snow, we're focusing on the sheer beauty of them. Here are some to study and admire, with a nod to some beautiful frost as well.

snowflakes on a back window Snowflakes show their individual flair, even in a group. (Photo: Joanna Poe [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr)

frost in the grass Frost makes the grass look like glass shards. (Photo: AJC1 [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr)

Snowflake lands in a person's hair Snowflakes land where they please, even in a person's hair. (Photo: Gui Seiz [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr)

snowflakes close-up Snowflake crystals look so beautiful when you look at them up close. (Photo: Bobkov Evgeniy/Shutterstock)

Snowflakes photographed along the curve of an airplane's window. Snowflakes photographed along the curve of an airplane's window. (Photo: ~ezs [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr)

A beautiful snowflake on a bright blue background The snow contrasts beautifully with the blue. (Photo: deldevries [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr)

frost on the window Frost on the window looks like art. (Photo: MerelyRachel [CC BY-ND 2.0]/Flickr)

Frost crystals that look like fern, beautiful winter frosty pattern made of brittle transparent crystals on the glass The crystals in frost can even look like ferns. (Photo: Bachkova Natalia/Shutterstock)

whole snowflakes rest on a plank Perfect, whole snowflakes rest on a plank of wood. (Photo: Doug Waldron [CC BY-SA 2.0]/Flickr)

snowflakes in young girl's eyelashes You're supposed to catch snowflakes on your tongue, but eyelashes will do in a pinch. (Photo: blessings/Shutterstock)

Snowflake on a dark blue background A perfect, single snowflake. (Photo: Mariia Tagirova/Shutterstock)

Snowflake pile-up Even piled on top of one another, individual snowflakes still find a way to stand out from the crowd. (Photo: Cristian H. Gomez/Shutterstock)

Rice-like snow lands on a leaf Snow doesn't always end up on the ground. Sometimes it ends on fallen leaves. (Photo: Rosmarie Voegtli [CC BY 2.0]/Flickr)

Editor's note: This story has been updated since it was published in December 2012.

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

13 perfect snowflakes captured in photos
These intricate, one-of-a-kind ice crystals form when precipitation falls through varying levels of humidity and temperatures in the air.