Follow us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterFollow us on FlickrFollow us on YouTubeFollow us on PinterestFollow us on Instagram


Contribute to the growth of the Museum collection by adopting a MINERAL or a GEM! Learn More


Want to keep in touch with the news from the Mineral Sciences Department, the field trips we organize, gems and minerals, the latest science discoveries, and much more? Follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our MinBlog!

Best of the West

NHM's gem and mineral collection of about 150,000 specimens is the most significant in the country, west of the Smithsonian. See More


Visit the web page of the Department of Mineral Sciences! You will find information about the staff, the Gem and Mineral Collection, and the ongoing science!

The Gem & Mineral Council

The Gem & Mineral Council is a support organization for the Gem & Mineral Collection and Exhibit. It also supports the research on new minerals and on diamonds, which enables unveiling the secrets of the Deep Earth.

The Gem & Mineral Council provides a varied schedule of activities including exciting field trips, educational lectures, and exclusive social events. To learn more about The Gem & Mineral Council and how you can become a member, visit The Gem & Mineral Council webpage.


New Acquisitions

Thanks to the support of donors, endowments, and our Gem & Mineral Council, the Gem and Mineral Collection of NHM has grown over the years. We are always looking for new donors to continue building our collection. We make a point at always recognizing our donors: the name of the donor (if she/he agrees) will be displayed with the specimen in our Museum! Two easy ways to help us: join the Gem & Mineral Council and adopt a mineral!

Acquisitions, 2013

Demantoid Cat's Eye

San Benito County, California (3.71 ct). Gift from Joel Siegel.

Fluorite, Wise mine, New Hampshire (14 x 10 cm) 

Gift from Alain Martaud

Opal, Wollo, Ethiopia (15.80 ct)

Gift from Francesco Mazzero and Eyassu Bekele.

Opal, Mezzezzo, Ethiopia (4.5 x 4 cm)

Gift from Francesco Mazzero and Eyassu Bekele

Opal, Wollo, Ethiopia (18.01 ct)

Gift from Francesco Mazzero and Eyassu Bekele.

Opal, Wollo, Ethiopia (10.45 ct)

Gift from Francesco Mazzero and Eyassu Bekele.

Opal, Wollo, Ethiopia (15.80 ct)

Gift from Francesco Mazzero and Eyassu Bekele.


Corundum on matrix, Zazafotsy Quarry (Amboarohy), Zazafotsy Commune, Ihosy District, Horombe Region, Fianarantsoa Province, Madagascar (4 x 4.5 cm)

Gift from Joel Siegel.

Shattuckite, Tantara mine, Katanga Province, Democratic Republic of Congo (2.7 x 2.4 cm)

Gift from Bill Severance.

Pyrite on hematite, Elba Island, Italy (15.5 x 16.5 ct)

Gift from Christophe Gobin.


Azurite on malachite, Kimbwé, Kinsevere district, Katanga Democratic Republic of Congo (7 x 4.5 cm)

Gift from Valère Berlage.

"Reverse" trapiche emerald, Muzo, Colombia (3 x 3 mm)

Gift from Elaine Rohrbach.

Heated "reverse" trapiche ruby, Mong Hsu, Myanmar (2 x 2 mm)

Gift from Elaine Rohrbach.


Pink star quartz, Tsitondroina, Toliara province, Madagascar (2.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 cm)

Gift from Joel Siegel.

Tourmaline with copper inclusions, Paraiba, Brazil (2.18 ct)

Gift from Mary & Bruce Stambaugh.

Smoky quartz on feldspar, California Blue mine, San Bernardino County, California.

One of the 3 quartz crystals given by Rick Kennedy.

Pyrite, Merelani, Tanzania (4 x 3 cm)

Gift of an entire flat by Roy Foerster.

Acquisitions, 2012

Forsterite from pallasite (meteorite): gem & mineral. 

This is a forsterite (var. peridot) mineral and gem cut from a 4.5 billion year old pallasite meteorite. Pallasites are a rare type of meteorite composed of forsterite in a iron-nickel metal matrix. They are thought to be fragments of the core-mantle boundary of small planets (think asteroid size) that shattered through collisions in the early years of the solar system. This gem and rough were donated by Palladot.

Haüyne (3.23 ct), Eiffel Mountains, Germany.

This is a 3.23 ct haüyne from Germany (9.5 x 9.5 mm). This mineral, displaying an incomparable electric blue color, comes usually in very small crystals. A 3.23 ct Haüyne is therefore quite exceptional! Soon on display at the Museum.

Opal in matrix, Australia.

This opal on ironstone matrix was given by Tomiko Mori in honor of George Ujihara.The exact locality in Australia is unknown, but the matrix and the opal layering is typical of the deposit of Quilpie in Queensland. This rock contains thick layers of gem quality opal, with play-of-color ranging from purple, to blue, to green to yellow, to orange and red... the entire rainbow of colors! This opal-bearing rock weighs 3.13 kg (6lb 14.5 oz) and measures approximately 25 x 14 x 10 cm.

Pezzotaite (2.3 ct), Madagascar.

This 2.3-ct gem pezzottaite has been given by Laurent Thomas, and will join some other amazing gems in the vault shortly. Pezzottaite is a rare mineral that only comes from Madagascar (where this one comes from, it is also the type locality), and Afghanistan.

Quartz / Amethyst scepter, Hallelujah junction, Lassen County, CA.

If quartz and amethyst have been found on the other side of the Californian border, in Nevada, this is so far the best quartz / amethyst specimen found so far in the Californian part of Hallelujah junction. This specimen fits perfectly into the gem & mineral hall specialty: Minerals from California... and... is up for adoption! It is about 15 cm high by 6.8 cm where the scepter is the widest. 

Quartz crystals with oil, Balochistan, Pakistan.

These two quartz crystals (natural faces) from Pakistan contain some oil inclusions. The oil is at the fluid state inside the inclusions, and bubbles of gaz can be seen moving inside the fluid, while moving the quartz. The inclusions present a bright whitish-blue fluorescence when exposed to ultraviolet light. Each crystal is approximately 2.5 x 1.6 x 1.7 cm. You can adopt these quartz crystals!

Collection: Big Creek / Rush Creek district, CA, Walstrom collection.

This collection of 134 specimens from the Big Creek - Rush Creek sanbornite deposit in eastern Fresno County, California is a gift from Robert E. Walstrom. Mr. Walstrom discovered the deposit in 1961 and still holds the mining claims. This locality has yielded more new minerals any other locality in California, including kampfite, below held by Dr. Kampf.