DIAMOND MUSEUM CLOSED
The dazzling Antwerp Diamond Museum, which for ten years was the largest diamond museum in the world, was permanently closed in 2012. However, highlights of the collection are temporarily housed in the Diamond Pavilion near the Museum of the River (MAS), which opened in Antwerp, Belgium, in 2011 and is located in the heart of the old harbor close to the city center. On display, among other diamond items, are elegant pieces of jewelry set with diamonds and also replicas of the British Crown Jewels, a movie about diamond cutting, and audio guides in several languages. In addition to the diamond displays at the pavilion, visitors can tour the diamond district of Antwerp, the city often referred to as the world center for diamonds.
COLOR SPONSORS for the Museum Notes column for 2014 are John and Maryanne Fender of Fender Natural Resources, Richardson, Texas.
Caption: Interior view of Antwerp's Diamond Pavilion, which houses highlights from the now-closed Antwerp Diamond Museum.
Caption: Diamond-encrusted tennis racket on display at the Diamond Pavilion.
On display in the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems at the American Museum of Natural History, in New York City, through June of this year is the champagne-colored Kimberley Diamond. Cut from a 490-carat crystal, which was found in the nineteenth century at the Kimberley mine in South Africa, the diamond was originally cut as a 70-carat gem in 1921. To improve on the gem's proportions and to increase its brilliance, it was reduced to its present 55.08-carat emerald cut in 1958. The diamond is on loan from the Bruce F. Stuart Trust.
Caption: The sparkling 55.08-carat Kimberley Diamond now on exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History.
This past summer the Mineral Museum at the University of Arizona, in Tucson, received the largest single donation in its history-more than eight thousand specimens, including about one thousand species the museum did not have. Rock Currier, a prominent wholesale mineral dealer from Arcadia, California, was the donor. The minerals will be used primarily as research samples in the RRUFF project, which is creating a database of the characteristics of all known mineral species.
Caption: An artist's conception of the new building that will house the Mineral Museum, along with other facilities of the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, at New Mexico Tech in Socorro.
NEW ASSOCIATE CURATOR
In August 2013, Dr. Christopher Stefano was appointed as the new associate curator at the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum, at Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan. Stefano earned a PhD in geology in 2010 at the University of Michigan and recently completed two years as a research assistant in mineral collection there. He was awarded the Donna Chirnside Trophy for excellence in museum show exhibits at the 2012 Denver Gem and Mineral Show. In addition, he has teaching experience as a graduate student and as an adjunct faculty member at Michigan's Jackson Community College. Readers of Rocks & Minerals will recall that Stefano recently coauthored (with Kathy Erwin and Dr. Rodney Ewing) an article titled "The University of Michigan Mineral Collection, Ann Arbor" (July/August 2013, pages 328-338).
Caption: Dr. Christopher Stefano, new A. E. Seaman Museum associate curator, at the 2013 Denver Show.
NEWS FROM NEW MEXICO
The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources broke ground for a new museum in November 2013 on the campus of New Mexico Tech University in Socorro. The facility, galleries, and labs will be more than 50 percent larger than the current museum. The building, which will have a three-story attachment to house offices and archives, will be located on the main northeast entrance to the university. Construction is expected to take up to two years.
In addition, Gary and Priscilla Young, of Southwestern Gems and Minerals in Albuquerque, recently donated a portion of their collection of New Mexico specimens to the Mineral Museum. They were life-long collectors of New Mexico minerals, and their material represents a major addition to the collection.
Opening 1 February at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, in Houston, Texas, is Fabergé: A Brilliant Vision, a special exhibition of magnificent items designed by the House of Fabergé during the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century in Imperial Russia. Included are more than 350 pieces, an array of objets d'art, luxurious gifts, and practical items for the wealthy patrons of Europe. All are on extended loan from the renowned McFerrin collection.
Caption: The dazzling Leuchtenberg Tiara by Fabergé (workmaster August Holmström) of St. Petersburg, Russia, ca. 1895, part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science exhibition.
See the Chips from the Quarry column for upcoming events at the University of Arizona Mineral Museum and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.