The Smithsonian contains a vast collection of rough and faceted gemstones, with some outstanding pieces that are truly world-class. This post shows some of the iconic gems and gemstones in the collection.
Click the pictures below for a larger version pop-up.
The Famous Blue Hope Diamond
The Gachala Emerald
from Colombia, at 828 ct.
This is one of the largest Emeralds in the World
Giant Gem Topaz
Crystal of 111 Lbs
Gemstones from Hotazel, South Africa
Crystals from the Hiddenite Mine, Stony Point, North Carolina
Crystal from Volodark, Zhitomir, Ukraine
from Brazil, Rough and Faceted
Showing Amazing Color Sheen from Nain, Nefoundland, Canada
Incredible Iris Agate
Cat's Eye Elbaite Tourmaline
from Minas Gerais, Brazil
"Candelabra" with Albite
From the Tourmaline Queen Mine, San Diego Co., California
Large Blue Topaz
Crystal from Mursinka, Ekaterinburg, Urals, Russia
This past summer, I made a trip to Washington DC and visited the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. This museum features one of the most impressive gem and mineral collections in the world, with over 3,500 world-class specimens on exhibit. In addition to the famous gems on display, such as the Hope Diamond and Gachala Emerald, it has some of the best of species for many minerals on display.
The displays are very impressive, with good lighting and well-planned organization. The museum also has all specimens very clearly labeled, which both novices and experts alike appreciate. Owned by the United States government, all of the Smithsonian museums are free of charge. The only problem with this is that in all my experiences visiting the museum, it is always extremely busy with enough people visiting the gem and mineral gallery to make it feel tight and uncomfortable. It took me about five minutes just to get in line to see the Hope Diamond! Despite the almost constant crowds, I was able to get some excellent pictures of both display cases and individual minerals and gems in the collection.
If you are in Washington DC, this is a key museum that should not be missed. However, be aware that it will likely be busy, especially on weekends and during the summer. Although I have been to this museum several times before, and have even written a short article on my visit, I will now present a more detailed post with many more photos. The postings for Smithsonian Museum exhibit will include the following:
Stay tuned and come back for updates.
We have been going through our mineral database adding new minerals and updating existing ones. We have several more oxide minerals to add on this round, but we are proud to announce that we have added the following two over the past month:
We have also rewritten the content for the minerals below, with new and updated information and photos.