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March-April 2013

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Museum Notes

In October of this past year the Krügerhaus, a new mineral museum in Freiberg, Germany, held its grand opening. Dedicated solely to German minerals, the museum features specimens from the famous Pohl-Ströher collection, among others. It is located next to terra mineralia, which had its own grand opening in October 2008 and is part of the Freiberg Technical University Mining Academy. The Krügerhaus will be the subject of an upcoming article in Rocks & Minerals. Readers will recall that an article by Shields Flynn on terra mineralia was published in our March/April 2009 issue.

Caption: The grand opening of the Krügerhaus in Freiberg, Germany.


Canada's mineral treasures and the geological forces that shape the country are featured in a renewed and expanded gallery that opened 30 November 2012 at the Canadian Museum of Nature, in Ottawa, Ontario. The Vale Earth Gallery is the result of two years of planning and three months of renovations to a smaller phase of the gallery that opened in 2010.

Caption: The Canadian Museum of Nature, home of the new Vale Earth Gallery, which opened this past November.

Showstoppers include fourteen oversized mineral specimens (weighing 45 to 225 kilograms!) that share space with approximately one thousand superlative mineral, rock, and gem specimens. Visitors can build a volcano, cause an earthquake, explore a limestone cave, observe animations, manipulate a 2-meter globe, and make different kinds of rock by simulating geological forces. There's even a replica of a sedimentary rock face with embedded fossils from around 65 million years ago.

Caption: A display of oversized minerals from Canada, the United States, China, Brazil, South America, and Mexico, a highlight of the Vale Earth Gallery.

A special section is the Mineral Lab, which explores the properties of minerals, displays unique minerals from Canadian mine sites, and presents videos of the museum's research staff at work in the lab and in the field.

Another gallery feature is the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, an interactive display that presents 153 biographies of Canada's mining and geology pioneers. This section features a multimedia presentation that highlights society's reliance upon products containing mined resources.


The Mineralogical Museum at the University of Delaware, in Newark, currently has a special display of seventeen rhodochrosite specimens from Colorado on loan from collector/dealer Dave Bunk of Denver. Specimen localities include the Sweet Home mine as well as such lesser-known mines as the Grizzly Bear, Moose, and Sunnyside. The exhibit will continue until May of this year.

Caption: The special rhodochrosite exhibit of Dave Bunk specimens at the University of Delaware's Mineralogical Museum.

Caption: A rhodochrosite specimen, 13 × 9 cm, from the Good Luck Pocket of the Sweet Home mine, Alma district, Park County, Colorado.


The Pink Jubilee Diamond, the largest pink diamond ever found in Australia, was donated to Museum Victoria, in Melbourne, in July 2012, by Rio Tinto Ltd. It is now on display in the museum's Dynamic Earth Gallery.

Caption: The Argyle Pink Jubilee Diamond on display at Museum Victoria.

Unearthed in 2011 at Rio Tinto's Argyle diamond mine, the 12.7-carat stone was originally destined for the prestigious invitation-only Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender. However, strains and flaws within the crystal were revealed when cutting commenced. The diamond cutter was concerned the stone might break, so Argyle Pink Diamonds decided, rather than risk destroying the stone, they would preserve the partially cut gem as a record of the largest stone from the Argyle mine. The stone now weighs 8.01 carats. Originally valued at a minimum $10 million (U.S.), the diamond's worth was significantly reduced after the flaws were discovered; however, it still remains a highly valuable and historically significant gem—a spectacular piece of Australia's mining heritage.

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

It is the Argyle Pink Jubilee's size as well as its sparkling color that makes it exceptional. Pink diamonds comprise less than 0.03 percent of global diamond production. The Argyle mine produces about 90 percent of the world's supply.

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

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