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January-February 2010

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Museum Notes

SMMP AT TUCSON

The Society of Mineral Museum Professionals (SMMP) will hold its next meeting in February in conjunction with the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. The group will also put together two displays for the show: one based on the show's theme of Gems and Gem Minerals and titled “Unexpected Gemstones” (gems cut from minerals not generally considered as gem material); the other containing specimens with no data and asking for help in identifying their localities.

NEW SETTING

To mark it's fiftieth anniversary at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, the renowned 45.52-carat Hope Diamond is being displayed for the first time as a stand-alone gem, with no setting at all. It will remain on exhibit that way while its new temporary setting, “Embracing Hope,” is fabricated for display in April 2010. The new setting was announced on 23 September 2009 following an online contest that presented voters with a choice of three Harry Winston designs. More than one hundred thousand votes were cast in a month's time to determine the winner. Also in April, the Smithsonian Channel's Mystery of the Hope Diamond documentary will premiere.

ADDING SPARKLE

New items on display at the Gemological Institute of America's (GIA) Museum, in Carlsbad, California, include several exquisite pieces of jewelry. One is a necklace worn at the 2009 Primetime Emmy Awards. Called Shibuki (“splash” in Japanese), it is made up of 5.52 carats of diamonds set in 159 grams of platinum. It is one of four necklaces from the Platinum Guild International's Aqua Collection, also on exhibit. Other new pieces on view are a bracelet with approximately 630 diamonds, dazzling diamond brooches, and intricate enameled jewelry and objets d'art set in 18-karat gold. A notable collection of stones features 73 large, trilliant-cut gems ranging in size from 7 to 81 carats. They represent many gem species in a variety of colors, including tanzanite, emerald, tourmaline, opal, cerussite, fluorite, and aquamarine, and were mined from worldwide locatities.

JEWELED ART

The Lizzardro Museum of Lapidary Art, in Elmhurst, Illinois, has a gem-studded exhibit of a selection of the jeweled creations of now-retired jeweler Sidney Mobell. Included in Mobell's glamorous designs are such unlikely objects as a sardine can, mobile phone, fishing reel, mailbox, garbage pail, mousetrap, and pacifier. All are wrought in precious metals and set with gemstones, and all but the sardines are fully functional. One of Mobell's masterpieces is a chess set composed of thirty-two handcrafted pieces in sterling silver and gold, encrusted with nearly three thousand cut gems, including diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. The pieces stand on a green and white marble chessboard. This temporary exhibition, on loan from the Smithsonian Institution, moves on as of 3 January.

M.E.H.

Rocks & Minerals welcomes museum news items and related photographs for this column. Correspondence should be directed to the editor-in-chief, 5341 Thrasher Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45247; rocksandminerals@fuse.net.

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