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Minerals & Gemstone 480x104
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American Museum of Natural History Visit: Part 1 - Introduction

Earlier this year, I visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York to do a museum report on their mineral and gemstone exhibit. This museum is one of the top natural history museums in the world, and contains a very significant mineral and gemstone collection. I grew up fairly close to the museum, and, together with my father, had visited it many times in my youth. Most of the exhibits, including the dinosaur fossils and replicas which this museum is so famous for, have entirely changed since my childhood days, but the mineral and gemstone hall has remained essentially the same.

The museum collection contains many specimens that are the known to be the best of their type. It also contains many iconic minerals and gemstones, such as the Star of India Sapphire, the Newmont Azurite, the Giant Legrandite, the Bisbee Azurite/Malachite boulder, the Patricia Emerald, and the Subway Garnet.

The vast size of the room of the collection is incredible, and there are many different case types and sub-sections, from chemical groups, crystal types, local mineral localities, and the gemstones. All the specimens are mounted well with informative labels and proper detail.

Despite this, the mineral and gemstone halls looks like they are still stuck in the 1970's, with outdated designs, dim lighting, and brownish-gray carpeting everywhere reminiscent of that era. It is surprising that this museum, containing one of the most notable mineral collections in the world, is so dated.

However, the museum has announced plans to completely revamp the mineral and gemstone hall with a brand new and modern look and feel. The current mineral and gemstone hall has just been closed this past week, on October 26. It will be reopened as an entirely new exhibit in 2019 as the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals. This opening event will be in conjunction with the museum celebrating its 150th anniversary.

I hope to write a new report when the new hall opens up in 2020. In the meantime, enjoy these glimpses from my report from the old exhibit, with highlights of some of its finest minerals and collection cases. The museum report will be divided into the following separate posts:


Deep Blue Kyanite Crystal on Matrix
Main Entrance to the Museum from Central Park West

Deep Blue Kyanite Crystal on Matrix
Dinosaur Fossils on Display in the Museum Rotunda

Deep Blue Kyanite Crystal on Matrix
Museum Rotunda Featuring a Large Dinosaur

Deep Blue Kyanite Crystal on Matrix
Systematic Mineralogy Cases

Deep Blue Kyanite Crystal on Matrix
Case of Aesthetic Mineral Specimens

Deep Blue Kyanite Crystal on Matrix
Looking down one of the Museum Hallways

Deep Blue Kyanite Crystal on Matrix
Azurite/Malachite Centerpiece Surrounded by Display Cases

Deep Blue Kyanite Crystal on Matrix
Bisbee Azurite and Malachite Centerpiece Boulder

Deep Blue Kyanite Crystal on Matrix
Hall of Meteorites Adjacent to the Mineral Hall

American Museum of Natural History Visit: Part 2 - Display Cases

This post features some of the display cases within the Museum of Natural History mineral exhibit hall. The museum has a large selection of different displays, which have various themes. This post features our selection of some of these display cases.


Case of Exceptional Display Minerals
Case of Exceptional Display Minerals

Another Case of Exceptional Display Minerals
Another Case of Exceptional Display Minerals, with some Large Specimens

Display Case of Topaz
Display Case of Topaz

Display Case of Feldspar Minerals
Display Case of Feldspar Minerals

Display Case of Malachite
Display Case of Malachite

Display Case of Barite
Display Case of Barite

Display Case of Pyrite
Display Case of Pyrite

Display Case of Pyrite
Display Case of Stibnite

Display Case of Pegmatite Minerals
Display Case of Pegmatite Minerals

Display Case of Fluorite
Display Case of Fluorite

Display
Display Case of Hematite

Display Case of Cuprite
Display Case of Cuprite

Display Case of Gypsum
Display Case of Gypsum

Display Case of Large Beryl Crystals
Display Case of Large Beryl Crystals

Display Case of Garnets
Display Case of Garnets

American Museum of Natural History Visit: Part 3 - Individual Minerals 1

The American Museum of Natural History is known for many of its iconic minerals in its collection. I captured in photographs some important specimens of the collection in these next two posts, which feature individual minerals on display. I chose some of the museum's famous mineral specimens, as well as those that are highly photogenic or historically significant. 


Unfortunately, I was not able to get a good photograph of the Newmont Azurite. This specimen, a giant Azurite from Bisbee, Arizona, is among the most famous minerals of the collection (and the world). While exceptionally aesthetic, it is very hard to capture on camera from within its display case. Another famous mineral I did not see is the Subway Garnet, a very large, well-formed Almandine Garnet found in 1885 in Midtown Manhattan during a sewer excavation. This mineral is not on display but in the museum's repository, and I was therefore unable to see it. However, I was happy to hear that it will be showcased on display when the museum completes its current renovation, scheduled for 2020.


Despite missing some key mineral specimens, I was able to capture many other important specimens, and feature them in this and the following post.


Elbaite Tourmaline with Quartz from Pala, California
Elbaite Tourmaline with Quartz from Pala, California

Stibiconite Pseudomorph after Stibnite from San Luis Potosi,
 Mexico
Stibiconite Pseudomorph after Stibnite from San Luis Potosi, Mexico

Large Epidote Crystals from Untersulzbach, Tyrol, Austria
Large Epidote Crystals from Untersulzbach, Tyrol, Austria

Calcite Crystals with Red Hematite Staining from Egremont, England
Calcite Crystals with Red Hematite Staining from Egremont, England

Giant Topaz Crystal from Minas Gerais, Brazil
Giant Topaz Crystal from Minas Gerais, Brazil

Sulfur Crystals from Cianciana, Sicily, Italy
Sulfur Crystals from Cianciana, Sicily, Italy

Hematite Kidney Ore from Cumbria, England
Hematite "Kidney Ore" from Cumbria, England

Red Mushroom Elbaite Tourmaline from Mogok, Burma
Red Mushroom Elbaite Tourmaline from Mogok, Burma

Giant Calcite Crystals from Joplin, Missouri
Giant Calcite Crystals from Joplin, Missouri

Sulfur Crystals from Cianciana, Sicily, Italy
Sulfur Crystals from Cianciana, Sicily, Italy

Pink Apophyllite from St. Andreasberg, Germany
Pink Apophyllite from St. Andreasberg, Germany

Phosphophyllite from Bolivia
Phosphophyllite from Bolivia

Stolzite from Broken Hill, NSW, Australia
Stolzite from Broken Hill, NSW, Australia

Calcite Crystals from Joplin, Missouri
Calcite Crystals from Joplin, Missouri

Hemimorphite from Joplin, Missouri
Hemimorphite from Joplin, Missouri

American Museum of Natural History Visit: Part 4 - Individual Minerals 2

This post is a continuation of the previous one, showcasing some of the outstanding minerals in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The museum contains thousands of exceptional minerals on display, and it was difficult to choose which ones should be added to these posts, as I took many good photos of many good minerals. I'll save more for my next visit when the museum reopens the mineral exhibit in 2020. In the meantime, enjoy these current photos for now.


Harmotome from Dunbarton, Scotland
Harmotome from Dunbarton, Scotland

Malachite Fingers from Bisbee, Arizona
Malachite Fingers from Bisbee, Arizona

Wulfenite from Hillsboro, New Mexico
Wulfenite from Hillsboro, New Mexico

Multicolored Fluorite from Elizabethtown, Illinois
Multicolored Fluorite from Elizabethtown, Illinois

Scolecite on Stilbite from Nasik, India
Scolecite on Stilbite from Nasik, India

Rutile Twin from Parkersburg, Pennsylvania
Rutile Twin from Parkersburg, Pennsylvania

Sulfur Barrel Crystal from Cianciana, Italy
Sulfur Barrel Crystal from Cianciana, Italy

Scorodite from Zacatecas, Mexico
Scorodite from Zacatecas, Mexico

Calcite with Copper Inclusions from Lake Superior, off the Michigan Coast
Calcite with Copper Inclusions from Lake Superior, off the Michigan Coast

Wurtzite from Mies, Czech Republic
Wurtzite from Mies, Czech Republic

Large Almandine Garnet from Manhattan Island, New York City
Large Almandine Garnet from Manhattan Island, New York City

Purple Apatite from Auburn, Maine
Purple Apatite from Auburn, Maine

Exceptionally Large Legrandite from Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
Exceptionally Large Legrandite from Mapimi, Durango, Mexico

The Worlds Largest Stibnite on Display, from Wuling, China
The World's Largest Stibnite on Display, from Wuling, China

Elbaite Tourmaline with Quartz from Pala, California
Gold Leaf Formation from the Red Ledge Mine, Washington, Nevada

American Museum of Natural History Visit: Part 5 - Morgan Hall of Gems

The Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems in the American Museum of Natural History is a room within the museum mineral hall filled with both natural and cut gemstones. There are many famous gemstones in the collection. The Star of India, one of the centerpieces of the hall, is a 563 carat Star Sapphire, one of the largest such gems in the world. The DeLong Star Ruby is a 100 carat Star Ruby with bright color and strong asterism. The Patricia Emerald is a very large iconic Colombian Emerald crystal at 632 carats. These highlights are but a fraction of the gemstones in the vast collection, with many additional outstanding pieces on display.


According to the museum website, the hall of gemstones, which closed in October this year, is scheduled to reopen in the fall of 2019 after extensive renovations, as the Allison and Roberto Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals.


Multicolored Faceted Sapphire Gemstones, with a large Padparadschah in the Top Center
Multicolored Faceted Sapphire Gemstones, with a large Padparadschah in the Top Center

Ruby Crystals from from Afghanistan and Myanmar (Burma)
Ruby Crystals from Afghanistan and Myanmar (Burma)

The Famous Patrica Emerald
The Famous Patrica Emerald

Harmotome from Dunbarton, Scotland
The Star of India, a Superb Star Sapphire

The Midnight Star, a Purple Star Sapphire (Top), and DeLong Star Ruby (bottom)
The Midnight Star, a Purple Star Sapphire (Top), and DeLong Star Ruby (bottom)

Large Cats Eye Chrysoberyl from Sri Lanka (85 Carats)
Large Cat's Eye Chrysoberyl from Sri Lanka (85 Carats)

Diamond%} Crystals in Conglomerate Matrix from Minas Gerais, Brazil
Diamond Crystals in Conglomerate Matrix from Minas Gerais, Brazil

Another Diamond in Conglomerate Matrix from Brazil. (Can you find the Diamond?)
Another Diamond in Conglomerate Matrix from Brazil. (Can you find the Diamond?)

Diamond in Kimberlite Matrix from the Mir Pipe, Russia
Diamond in Kimberlite Matrix from the Mir Pipe, Russia

Diamond in Kimberlite Matrix from Kimberley, South Africa
Diamond in Kimberlite Matrix from Kimberley, South Africa

Exhibit Case of Quartz Gemstones
Exhibit Case of Quartz Gemstones

Exhibit Case of Tourmaline Gemstones
Exhibit Case of Tourmaline Gemstones