Youíre clairvoyant! Yes, itís a pepper mill with turquoise and Epoxy filled voids. I could take a piece of mesquite and rout some voids, but I donít think it would look as good as natural cracks.
If youíre able to find a piece, Iíd sure appreciate it!
You have to keep looking for the "right piece" and I will to until you do. I've seen similar "art pieces" like this over the decades Quickstep, including one of my Mothers cutting boards for meat prep...!!!!
Every single one I have seen is simply stunning and some of the finest contemporary work in woodworking I've seen, and I think you know full well by now I..."can't stand!!!"...modern woodworking of the most part...This is one aceeption that I not only admire but love doing myself, as it follows the principles of Kintsugi 金継ぎ and Wabi-sabi 侘寂.
As such, I think melding the modern materials with traditional concept and practice is most worthy exploration of our craft...
I look forward to following along and helping wherever I can...
I wish I had the piece I saw last year..!!!...I found it in Texas, and it was a little under 1 cubic foot in size. It was (a root section I think?) that had a "bird's eye" and gnarl to the grain patterns almost exactly like we find in Pipe burl wood ( aka: root of Erica arborea
) Both these species would serve your need rather well I think? If your open to other species, let me know and I will keep my eye out for them too. This project (and your time?) deserves the "right piece."
Also, have you considered other mineral augmentations? Like perhaps abolition shell, red fire coral, or perhaps even some "bone work" and/or inlay of gold, silver or copper ore?
I'll keep looking!!