American Museum of Natural History in New York City Designs All New Halls of Gems and Minerals

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Minerals and gems have been part of the American Museum of Natural History since it opened in 1869, featuring exquisite treasures from around the world. Some 110,000 specimens 105,000 minerals and 5,000 gems make the Museum's collection one of the most spectacular and comprehensive in the world.

These treasures include the 563-carat Star of India, the world's largest blue star sapphire; the 632-carat Patricia Emerald one of the few large, gem-quality emeralds to be preserved uncut; the largest topaz ever found, a 596-pound (271-kilogram) crystal from Brazil; and a 3.6-ton (3.3-metric-ton) pillar of azurite-malachite ore from Bisbee, Arizona.

The display of California gold specimens, including crystallized gold, gold dust, and gold leaves from the Sierra Nevada range, as well as paraphernalia of mining and assaying from the 19th and early 20th centuries brings another dimension to the exhibits.

Soon a visit to the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems and Harry Frank Guggenheim Hall of Minerals will be even more spectacular. New large-scale specimens, and redesigned exhibits will tell the fascinating story of how approximately 4,500 different types of minerals came to be and their role in fashion, and jewelry as well as their use in technology.

The halls will be named for Roberto and Allison Mignone, long-standing Museum supporters and volunteers. Roberto Mignone is a Museum Trustee and Allison Mignone is Vice Chair of the Museum's Campaign.

To celebrate this historic redesign, the Museum unveiled one of the new halls' featured specimens: a sparkling 12-foot-tall amethyst geode, recently acquired from Uruguay, which will be on temporary view in the Museum's Grand Gallery through the 2017 holiday season. The geode, which will be a centerpiece in the new halls, is among the largest amethyst geodes in the world.

The Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals will feature new large-scale acquisitions, including two amethyst geodes, visitor favorites such as the Star of India sapphire and the Patricia Emerald, and treasures from the collection that have not been on view for decades. A fun addition is the case dedicated to the minerals of New York City, including the "subway garnet" -- a 9-pound almandine garnet unearthed during a sewer dig on 35th Street in 1885.

A fluorescence and phosphorescence gallery featuring a massive panel of fluorescent rock from the Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Ogdensburg, New Jersey, that glows in shades of orange and green under ultraviolet light

The Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals are expected to open in 2019, as part of the Museum's 150th anniversary celebration.

The American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869, is one of the world's preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions. The Museum encompasses 45 permanent exhibition halls, including those in the Rose Center for Earth and Space and the Hayden Planetarium, as well as galleries for temporary exhibitions.

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November 24, 2017

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