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May-June 2013

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Museum Notes

DOM PEDRO AQUAMARINE

On display at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution), in Washington, D.C., is the Dom Pedro Aquamarine, the largest single piece of cut-gem aquamarine in the world. It joins other famous gemstones already on exhibit in the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals.

The 10,363-carat Dom Pedro, the world's largest cut aquamarine, now on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

The 10,363-carat Dom Pedro, the world's largest cut aquamarine, now on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

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

Mined from a Brazilian pegmatite in the late 1980s, the aquamarine was named for Brazil's first two emperors, Dom Pedro Primeiro and his son, Dom Pedro Segundo. Before cutting, the portion of the beryl crystal from which the obelisk-shaped gem was fashioned measured 23.25 inches long and weighed nearly 60 pounds. The obelisk, designed by world-renowned gem artist Bernd Munsteiner, stands 14 inches tall, measures 4 inches across the base, and weighs 10,363 carats or 4.6 pounds. A pattern of tapering “negative cuts” faceted into the reverse faces of the sea-blue obelisk reflects the light within the gem, giving the piece brightness and sparkle.

SPECIMENS DONATED

The Colburn Earth Science Museum, in Asheville, North Carolina, recently received another in a series of donations of superb mineral specimens from Dr. Steve Neely of Lebanon, Tennessee. This latest donation consists of five large specimens from the Elmwood and Cumberland mines in the Elmwood mining district, Smith County, Tennessee.

A 6.5-inch calcite on fluorite from the Elmwood mine, one of Neely's most recent donations.

A 6.5-inch calcite on fluorite from the Elmwood mine, one of Neely's most recent donations.

Already in place at the museum is a permanent exhibit of Neely's donated Elmwood minerals and mining photos. Planned for this spring is the unveiling of another display that will feature and rotate mineral donations from him.

The Colburn's permanent exhibit of donated specimens and mining photos from Dr. Steve Neely.

The Colburn's permanent exhibit of donated specimens and mining photos from Dr. Steve Neely.

ARKANSAS DIAMONDS

A set of ten Arkansas diamonds that for decades had been part of the collection of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia has made its way back to the state and is now on display at the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum, in Piggott, Arkansas. The historic uncut diamonds had been mined in Murfreesboro in 1931, and it is believed that they had been at the Philadelphia museum since 1933. They range in color from clear and colorless to brown, yellow, and green, and in size to 4.95 carats, with a combined weight of 22.91 carats.

Five of the ten historic diamonds that were returned to Arkansas and are now on exhibit at the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum.

Five of the ten historic diamonds that were returned to Arkansas and are now on exhibit at the Matilda and Karl Pfeiffer Museum.

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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