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July-August 2013

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Museum Notes

SMMP MEETINGS

The Society of Mineral Museum Professionals (SMMP) will hold two fall meetings, the first at the Denver Merchandise Mart on 13 September during the Denver Gem and Mineral Show (13–15 September), and the second at the New Munich Trade Fair Centre during the Munich Gem and Mineral Show (25–27 October).

THE ARTHUR SMITH COLLECTION

The mineral collection of the late Arthur E. Smith (1935–2009), of Houston, Texas, has found a home at his alma mater, Wheaton College, in Wheaton, Illinois. Approximately 30,000 items comprised the bequest, with specimens ranging in size from micromounts (20,000) to large-cabinet pieces. Although worldwide in scope, the collection is especially strong in Arkansas and Texas suites. Also included were his fossils, frog collection (260 made of various minerals and rocks), and book collection. (An In Memoriam tribute to Smith, written by Mark Jacobson, can be found in the March/April 2010 issue of Rocks & Minerals, pages 183–185.)

Already on display at Wheaton College's new mineral museum is Arthur E. Smith's collection of frogs carved from a variety of minerals and rocks. Plans call for some of Smith's better mineral specimens to be showcased in time for a dedication ceremony in the fall.

Already on display at Wheaton College's new mineral museum is Arthur E. Smith's collection of frogs carved from a variety of minerals and rocks. Plans call for some of Smith's better mineral specimens to be showcased in time for a dedication ceremony in the fall.

GALLERY RENOVATED

On 6 April the Harvard Museum of Natural History's former Mineral Gallery, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, reopened with a new name, the Earth & Planetary Sciences Gallery, and new exhibits that address key geological themes, including plate tectonics, geologic time, rock types and formation, and planetary geology. Featured is a spectacular array of minerals and rocks from Harvard University's vast collections, some of which are on public display for the very first time.

BUTTERFLY BROOCH

As of March of this year, the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, D.C., has a new addition to its famous gem collection: the Cindy Chao Black Label Masterpiece Royal Butterfly Brooch. Created and donated by Chao, the brooch is the first Taiwanese-designed piece in the collection.

Fluorescing in the dark is the Smithsonian Institution's Cindy Chao Black Label Masterpiece Royal Butterfly Brooch.

Fluorescing in the dark is the Smithsonian Institution's Cindy Chao Black Label Masterpiece Royal Butterfly Brooch.

The Royal Butterfly, composed of 2,328 gems, totals 77 carats. It is set with sapphires, diamonds, rubies, and tsavorites, making it sparkle in daylight. Under ultraviolet radiation many of the gemstones fluoresce in a dazzling array of blue, yellow, green, and fiery red-orange neon colors.

Inspired by nature are these one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, designed by Paula Crevoshay and part of the Garden of Light exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Luna Moth, a brooch/pendant, 59.43 mm across, composed of opal, chrysoprase, moonstone, and diamond.

Luna Moth, a brooch/pendant, 59.43 mm across, composed of opal, chrysoprase, moonstone, and diamond.

Helios, an opal brooch/pendant, 50 mm across.

Helios, an opal brooch/pendant, 50 mm across.

JEWELRY FEATURED

Currently on display at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, in Pittsburgh, are nearly seventy fine-art jewelry pieces inspired by nature and created by award-winning jewelry artist Paula Crevoshay. The exhibition, Garden of Light: Works by Paula Crevoshay, appeals to nature lovers as well as fans of lapidary art. Many of the pieces are shown juxtaposed with spectacular mineral specimens and insects from the Carnegie's collections, illustrating and celebrating the beauty and interdependencies of the animal, plant, and mineral kingdoms. Some of the raw materials Crevoshay uses are gold, opal, sapphire, and rare conch pearls. The display continues through 11 August.

Now on display at the Bowers Museum in The Tsars' Cabinet exhibition are these two treasures.

The Durnova Casket, made of silver gilt, enamel, and lapis lazuli by the Russian firm Ovchinnikov, ca. 1889.

The Durnova Casket, made of silver gilt, enamel, and lapis lazuli by the Russian firm Ovchinnikov, ca. 1889.

A Fabergé cigarette box, composed of palisander wood, two-colored gold, diamonds, and pearls, ca. 1900.

A Fabergé cigarette box, composed of palisander wood, two-colored gold, diamonds, and pearls, ca. 1900.

TWO EXHIBITIONS

Visitors to the Bowers Museum, in Santa Ana, California, can double their pleasure with not one, but two exciting new exhibitions. Continuing until 15 September is Gems of the Medici, featuring some of the oldest and most unique pieces of the Medici collections, including antiquities dating from the first century BC. In the mid-1400s, many celebrated artists, goldsmiths, silversmiths, and engravers were attracted by the abundance of wealth in Florence, Italy, but the most important factor in this gathering of talent was the presence of the Medici family. This legendary collection represents the wealth of the times.

Continuing until 1 September is The Tsars' Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Decorative Arts Under the Romanovs, showcasing two hundred objects designed for use by the tsars and members of their families, including personal service items commissioned by Catherine the Great and Nicholas II and his wife, Alexandra. Porcelain services, glassware, enamels, and decorated eggs exemplify the majesty and luxury of the Romanov reign during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

NEW ACQUISITION

In March of this year, the James Madison University Mineral Museum, in Harrisonburg, Virginia, became the proud owners of a large topaz crystal from the Morefield mine, Amelia County, Virginia; it is already on display. The crystal, which is 4,090 carats (818 grams) and measures 9.5 × 8.5 × 6.0 cm, was recovered in 2010. It is the single most significant mineral find in Virginia since the 2,800-carat “Rutherford Lady” spessartine was collected in 1991 at the Rutherford mine.

This Morefield mine topaz crystal can be seen at the James Madison University Mineral Museum.

This Morefield mine topaz crystal can be seen at the James Madison University Mineral Museum.

CELEBRATING EARTH

The Falls of the Ohio State Park is having Earth Discovery Day on 24 August from 9:30 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. The event focuses on earth sciences and provides visitors with the opportunity to dig fossils and minerals from fresh collecting piles, get shaken in an earthquake simulator, learn from four geoscience presentations, make geocrafts, explore microfossils and microminerals, hike on the park's fossil beds, and get unknown rocks and fossils identified by experts. For details, see www.fallsoftheohio.org/special_events.html.

COLOR SPONSORS for the Museum Notes column for 2013 are John and Maryanne Fender of Fender Natural Resources, Richardson, Texas.

Rocks & Minerals welcomes museum news items and photographs for this column. Correspondence should be sent to Marie Huizing, 5341 Thrasher Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45247; rocksandminerals@fuse.net.

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