GEMS AND PRECIOUS STONES
This splendid series of gems and precious stones in the American Museum of Natural History, together with the Bement collection of minerals in the adjoining hall, was presented to the Museum by J. Pierpont Morgan, a founder and Trustee of the institution. It includes many large and rare forms of cut and uncut gems, some of which cannot be duplicated.
In the wall cases are fine examples of precious stones like quartz, gypsum, rubellite, jade, calcite, opal, and of Iceland spar which makes a double refraction of light rays, thereby causing objects seen through it to appear double.
The collection of precious stones is especially remarkable for its many unique specimens. Among these may be mentioned the most perfect large sapphire known, a Babylonian axe-head of banded agate, 4,000 years old, and a wonderful series of sapphires, blue, pink, salmon and brown. There is also a magnificent series of beryl’s, a large series of tourmalines, and an immense section of jade from a boulder, but so thin that it measures not more than an eighth of an inch through. There is also in the collection a great hyacinth with the portrait of Christ engraved on it, the gift of a Vatican cardinal to a friend.
This collection of the American Museum of Natural Historynumbers more than 2,000 gem stones, objects of precious stone and nearly 2,500 pearls. A partial graduation in importance and value is obtained by the arrangement of the gems beginning with the diamond at the extreme south and passing north case by case, in each instance the raw material or uncut gem being placed in the center of the case and the cut material around it.
In its entirety the collection is the most extensive and carefully selected display of rough and cut stones in existence, and it must always stand as a wonderful monument to the man who thus generously enriched the American Museum. Proceed to the
Adjoining the Gem Hall is the Southwest Wing or Hall of Minerals of the American Museum of Natural History. At the entrance to the hall is the case containing recent acquisitions. The general collection consists in the main of the well-known Bement collection and includes representative species of the known minerals of the world. Although representing a large number of rare species, the chief fame of the collection rests upon the variety of forms representing the commoner minerals and the exceptional perfection of the specimens. The more attractive specimens are contained in the cases arranged down the center of the hall. The remainder are arranged according to the classification of minerals.
In the first cases on the right the visitor will find models illustrating the various types of crystallization. In the left-hand wall case are some unusually handsome specimens of agate and opal, and in a near-by table case are models of some of the most famous of the world's diamonds, including the wonderful Cullinan diamond, the original of which was valued at three million dollars, and the largest so far discovered. Continue to the
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