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.
Large Epidote Crystals from Untersulzbach, Tyrol, Austria
Giant Topaz Crystal from Minas Gerais, Brazil
Sulfur Crystals from Cianciana, Sicily, Italy
Giant Calcite Crystals from Joplin, Missouri
Sulfur Crystals from Cianciana, Sicily, Italy
Phosphophyllite from Bolivia
Stolzite from Broken Hill, NSW, Australia
Calcite Crystals from Joplin, Missouri
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
Multicolored Fluorite from Elizabethtown, Illinois
Rutile Twin from Parkersburg, Pennsylvania
Sulfur Barrel Crystal from Cianciana, Italy
Scorodite from Zacatecas, Mexico
Calcite with Copper Inclusions from Lake Superior, off the Michigan Coast
Exceptionally Large Legrandite from Mapimi, Durango, Mexico
The World's Largest Stibnite on Display, from Wuling, China
Gold Leaf Formation from the Red Ledge Mine, Washington, Nevada
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.
Ruby Crystals from Afghanistan and Myanmar (Burma)
Diamond Crystals in Conglomerate Matrix from Minas Gerais, Brazil
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 Kimberley, South Africa
Exhibit Case of Quartz Gemstones
The American Museum of Natural History has some important minerals on display from the nearby volcanic traprock quarries of northeastern New Jersey. There is an exhibit case dedicated to these minerals, as well as sporadic representation of New Jersey traprock minerals in other cases. Many of the labels list the locality as "West Paterson," presumably referring to the Upper New Street Quarry, which is in fact in Paterson, and not West Paterson. Nevertheless, in our caption, we kept the "West Paterson" designation when used for lack of certainty.
The display case for the North Jersey traprock minerals has a plaque that states the following:
"A unique collection of minerals, resulting from volcanic activity, exists less than 20 miles west of New York City. Near Paterson, New Jersey, where lava flows had hardened into basalt, many of the fissures, vesicles, and other openings in the basaltic rock were filled or coated with a distinct assemblage of minerals. These include a range of related minerals known as the zeolites - Chabazite, Heulandite, Mesolite, Stilbite, and others. Attractive minerals such as Prehnite, Datolite, Pectolite, and Apophyllite are also present along with the zeolites. Because crushed basalt is a valuable rock for construction, many quarries once operated in the basaltic rock of northern New Jersey. Some of the minerals they uncovered, which number more than 60, can be seen here."
Primary Case of Volcanic Traprock Minerals from the Paterson Area, New Jersey
Thaumasite from Paterson, NJ
Franklin, New Jersey, is an old mining district that lies about 40 miles northwest of Manhattan. Its fame lies in its rich deposits of zinc, exploited through the 1950's. The Franklin Mine is world-famous for being the most proficient source of fluorescent minerals, and is known as the fluorescent capital of the world. It also has produced over 300 known minerals, one of the largest mineral counts for a single locality. Nearby, in the borough of Ogdensburg, is a continuation of the same ore vein, with the same assemblage of minerals. Both Franklin and Ogdensburg have produced very important mineral specimens, with old classics such as Rhodonite and Willemite within the cases of museums throughout the world. The American Museum of Natural History is no exception, having a special affinity to these locations due to their proximity.
Presented below are some of the minerals on display from Franklin and Ogdensburg, New Jersey. This post concludes our museum report on the American Museum of Natural History. However, visit our Instagram page for additional photos not included on these pages.
Barrel-Shaped Molybdenite Crystal from Sterling Hill, Ogdensburg, NJ
Native Copper from Franklin, NJ
Zincite, Odd Formation, from Franklin, NJ