Whether you are a geology aficionado or you just love pretty things that sparkle, the American Museum of Natural History in NYC has given you yet another reason to visit the Big Apple. After three years of renovations, the redesigned Allison and Roberto Mignone Hall of Gems and Minerals is set to reopen for the museum’s 150th anniversary this fall. Arguably, the most anticipated exhibit of them all? The massive purple amethyst to be displayed front and center. (1, 2, 3)
A Long-Awaited Update
The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City has been in the process of receiving a much-needed facelift since 2017. One of the most exciting changes is to the halls dedicated to displaying the world’s precious gems, rocks, and minerals. In particular, the 12-foot tall, 9,000-pound purple amethyst brought in from Uruguay. (1, 2, 3)
Formerly known as the Morgan Memorial Hall of Gems and the Frank Harry Guggenheim Hall of Minerals has been renamed and redesigned. The space has been opened up and brightened up to better display the splendor that makes up the 11,000 square foot exhibit. (1, 2, 3)
A Story to Tell
The exhibit will walk the visitor through the tale of how 4,500 types of minerals on earth came to be, how they are classified, and how humans have used them throughout the centuries. This story was not one that could have been told just some 40 years ago. Thanks to some dedicated scientists, we now have an incredible amount of knowledge as to how rocks and minerals are connected to the evolution of the planet and to human history. (1, 2, 3)
“Whether you’re talking about the spectacular 563-carat Star of India sapphire or the unique almandine ‘subway garnet’ unearthed in New York City in 1885, the American Museum of Natural History is known for having one of the most spectacular and comprehensive collections of gems and minerals in the world,” said Ellen V. Futter, Museum President. “Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of Allison and Roberto Mignone, we will now highlight these specimens in new exhibits illuminating the latest scientific thinking and revealing the spectacular beauty of objects from cultures across the globe.” (2)
The new exhibit promises to be the perfect blend of biology, culture, and technology.
While the entire exhibit is going to be something to marvel at, there are a few gems (pun intended) that stand out from the rest (3):
- 12-foot tall, 9,000-pound amethyst geodes from Uruguay.
- An illuminated gallery that features a fluorescent orange and green-glowing rock the size of a wall.
- The 9-pound almandine “subway” garnet that was discovered under 35th street in Manhattan in 1885.
- 563-carat “Star of India” sapphire.
- 632-carat Patricia emerald
- The Beautiful Creatures exhibit, which features animal-inspired pieces from Tiffany & Co, Cartier, Bulgari, and others.
The tentative reopen date for this magnificent exhibit is sometime in the fall of 2020. While there is much uncertainty due to the COVID-19 outbreak as to if, and when exactly that will be, one thing is for sure: when it does open, it will be spectacular.