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Gemstones at Natural History Museum

Updated: Jan 30, 2022

A rainy day in London transformed in one of the most interesting ones as I went to the Natural History Museum In London and I discovered the Minerals Quarter.

The first visual impact was the huge gem displayed at the entrance of the spacious Victorian room called “The Ostro Stone” a 9,381 ct faceted intense Blue Topaz from Minas Gerais, Brazil.

This is considered to be the largest treated intense blue faceted topaz.

Moving forward in the the immense room full of stone columns, beautiful designed ceilings and imposing windows, the wood cabinets were all full of rocks and gemstones from all over the world ,it was so fascinating to be there. Back in the end of the room the Vault was situated , with a no entrance sign . Of course, how much I would've loved to see what hidden treasures are there but I could only imagine.

The first display was teaching us how minerals form from metamorphic rocks and the most important one was the diamond. I was always fascinating by the the fact that diamonds and graphite are made from the same carbon atoms just with differences in its structure. To see a diamond compared it with a soft pencil and realizing that they are made from the same material is just so unique.

The way atoms are arranged in a diamond and graphite it’s illustrated here.

Another interesting fact is that graphite can be found close to the surface of the earth maybe 30 km and diamonds only form deep beneath 150km

Amazing stripes of malachite were to be seen in the second cabinet .This green fantasy trademark with light and dark banding make it so unique unlike any other gem.

The opal display it was magnificent combined of the blueish banded massive in jasper from Barcoo River Queensland Australia to the pure white and light blue one , the polished black opal from New South Wales and the unpolished one in the matrix from the famous Lightning Ridge reaching the mysterious wood opal that was a polished slice of fossil tree from Nevada.

The fire opal it has been always the most interested silica material that I wanted too see. It doesn't look like an opal you would think it could be a ruby or any other red gem but surprisingly it s a creation of a precious opal and the quality of the color surpasses the fire of the diamond. This fire opal it comes from Mexico.

I have never though of Sulphur being so beautifully colored and here we have this strong yellow colors.

Jade cabinets were so interestingly displays beads and bangles. We all know that China is the most famous for its worked jade including both the creamy-white nephrite and the mostly green jadeite.(see image)

Jade is not a hard material but is a tough material witch makes it perfect for carvings and beautiful jewllery.

The natural history museum was a a great exploration through gems and mineral but another beautiful visual wonder was looking at those ceilings. The patterns on the ceilings on the museum were a great inspiration for jewllery designs. They were designed by the museum's architect Alfred Waterhouse and painted by the artist Charles James Lea. The ceiling of the Central Hall consists of 162 panels, 108 of which depict plants considered significant to the history of the museum, to the British Empire or the museum's visitors and decorative botanical paintings. The ceiling of the smaller North Hall consists of 36 panels, 18 of which depict plants growing in the British Isles. Painted directly onto the plaster of the ceilings, they also make use of gilding for visual effect.

Next time you are in London plan a trip to the National History Museum and find its beauty.

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