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A simple riddle of mine, focused towards meter and rhyme.

I'm but a speck of fairy dust
A glitt'ring jew'l, but only just
So small I scarcely can be seen
A trinity in me convenes

And yet without me you can't see
Fine art and words are made of me
I'm resolute; through me you can
View realms beyond the mortal ken

I shrink along with passing years
My number grows, I gain more peers
But treat me well 'tis very true
I sleep and live and die like you

Please include explanations for as many lines as possible in your answer.

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You are:

A pixel

--

I'm but a speck of fairy dust / A glitt'ring jew'l, but only just

Pixels are small and bright

So small I scarcely can be seen / A trinity in me convenes

RGB

And yet without me you can't see

You can't see content without them. Assuming specific to the context of its realm.

Fine art and words are made of me

Again, assuming the context of its realm.

I'm resolute; through me you can / View realms beyond the mortal ken

Pretty obvious, via the internet, games, etc.

I shrink along with passing years / My number grows, I gain more peers

DPI increases as computers get more advanced.

But treat me well 'tis very true / I sleep and live and die like you

"Sleep" possibly referring to monitor state, and pixels can die.

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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I think you got it :) $\endgroup$ – d'alar'cop Dec 12 '14 at 18:29
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    $\begingroup$ Also "fairy dust" ~ "pixie dust" ~ "pixel" and "I'm resolute" ~ "resolution" $\endgroup$ – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Dec 12 '14 at 19:40
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    $\begingroup$ Nice work. Also, "jewel" > liquid crystal display $\endgroup$ – McMagister Dec 13 '14 at 1:48
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    $\begingroup$ Tangential but relevant: "I shrink along with passing years": We're at 577 ppi (Galaxy S5 LTE-A) and still going. $\endgroup$ – bwDraco Dec 13 '14 at 9:14
  • $\begingroup$ "I shrink along with passing years": With the Xperia Z5 Premium, we're now at 806 ppi. 3840x2160 pixels on a 5.5-inch display. Absolutely insane. $\endgroup$ – bwDraco Feb 18 '16 at 23:47
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You are a(n):

Atom

I'm but a speck of fairy dust

Atoms are star-dust.

A glitt'ring jew'l, but only just

Atoms are beautiful, why not.

So small I scarcely can be seen

Atoms are tiny.

A trinity in me convenes

Protons, electrons and neutrons.

And yet without me you can't see

Atoms are all there is to comprise the so-called physical world we operate in.

Fine art and words are made of me

Everything is comprised of atoms.

I'm resolute; through me you can View realms beyond the mortal ken

A reference to quantum mechanics?

I shrink along with passing years

Atomic decay

My number grows, I gain more peers.

Atoms are born with death of stars and expansion of the universe. Could also refer to atomic numbers increasing?

But treat me well 'tis very true I sleep and live and die like you

Atoms actually die.

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  • $\begingroup$ Re the last spoiler ... umm, wat? $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Dec 12 '14 at 17:02
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    $\begingroup$ @JanDvorak: Technically, given an infinite time horizon, all atoms will eventually decay into fermions, then radiative subatoms. $\endgroup$ – COTO Dec 12 '14 at 17:06
  • $\begingroup$ Something about the death of atoms $\endgroup$ – d'alar'cop Dec 12 '14 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ Second last spoiler: is the number of atoms really growing? Nuclear fusion results in fewer, but larger atoms. $\endgroup$ – McMagister Dec 12 '14 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ @McMagister Honestly, I don't know enough about atoms to come up with a stellar explanation for this $\endgroup$ – d'alar'cop Dec 12 '14 at 17:37
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A water molecule.

I'm but a speck of fairy dust

Water molecules are specks.

A glitt'ring jew'l, but only just

Water and ice both glitter

So small I scarcely can be seen

It is hard to see water molecules.

A trinity in me convenes

Two hydrogens and one oxygen.

And yet without me you can't see

Because there would be no humours in your eye, and life can't exist without water.

Fine art and words are made of me

watercolors, etc.

I'm resolute; through me you can View realms beyond the mortal ken

Detecting water in remote galaxies, etc.

I shrink along with passing years

Because of the expansion of the universe, you could think of everything else shrinking by comparison.

My number grows, I gain more peers

It's raining and / or more water is made in nebulae in outer space.

But treat me well 'tis very true

because water is good for you.

I sleep and live and die like you

because you're 90% water.

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There have been other answers along these lines (and frankly I like CAVX's better), but the first thing that came to mind for me is:

A carbon atom

I'm but a speck of fairy dust

Like graphite

A glitt'ring jew'l, but only just

Like diamond

So small I scarcely can be seen

because atom

A trinity in me convenes

electron, proton, neutron

And yet without me you can't see

Your retinas are made mostly of carbon

Fine art and words are made of me

Graphite, charcoal, most paints, all organic building materials...

I'm resolute; through me you can

Diamond and graphene are transparent

View realms beyond the mortal ken

and diamonds are the result of ancient geological processes

I shrink along with passing years

nuclear weak force

My number grows, I gain more peers

stellar fusion

But treat me well 'tis very true

Diamonds are incredibly hard, but also brittle

I sleep and live and die like you

We are made primarily of carbon, and carbon has a (very long) half-life too

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