Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems

Wertz Gallery: Gems & Jewelry

Wertz Gallery: Gems & Jewelry is a 2,000-square-foot addition to Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems dedicated to gems, the crystals from which they come, and jewelry comprised of these precious stones. Wertz Gallery is named in honor of Ronald W. Wertz, longtime president of the Hillman Foundation. Wertz Gallery opened in 2007 as part of a year-long expansion and renovation of Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems, which first opened in 1980. Hillman Hall exhibits minerals in the manner of sculpture, showing them for their beauty as well as discussing their physical properties and industrial uses. Extensive displays include amber, birthstones, and lapidary art, and major exhibitions are also hosted.

Lapidary Art: Carvings by Slava Tulupov

TulupovGemstones, jewelry, and sculptures created by artists are called lapidary art. Lapidary artists are classically trained artists devoted to “the art of the gem.” Wertz Gallery is highlighting two award-winning carvings, Dragon and Polar Bear, by world-renowned lapidary artist Slava Tulupov. Click here to read excerpts of an article about Slava Tulupov from Professional Jeweler magazine. (Microsoft Word document)

Click on images for larger view.
Photos: Slava Tulupov


Polar Bear

A Fabergé-style carving from a type of opal known as “cacholong.” Polar Bear was awarded first place for carving at the Jewelry Olympus international competition in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2005.

Polar Bear by Slava Tulupov


An abstract carving of quartz variety “California Mojave blue chalcedony.” Dragon was awarded first place for carving in the AGTA Cutting Edge competition in 1999 and first place for artistry and technical skills at the Jewelry Olympus international competition in St. Petersburg, Russia in 2005.

Dragon by Slava Tulupov

Recent Donations

Some of the most important minerals and gemstones in the museum collection come from donations. Museums rely on the generosity of the public to build their collections and exhibitions. Wertz Gallery features examples of jewelry and gemstones that have been donated from private collections.

Click images for larger views.
Photos: Deb Wilson

Diamond & Platinum Brooch
6.94 total carats of diamonds
Diamond & Platinum Brooch
Sapphire, Diamond & Platinum Ring
10 carat sapphire with 4.2 carats of diamonds
  Sapphire, Diamond & Platinum Ring
Emerald, Diamond & Gold Pendant
13.29 carat emerald with 2.65 carats of diamonds
  Emerald, Diamond & Gold Pendant
Sapphire, Diamond & Platinum Ring
10 carat sapphire with 1.5 carats of diamonds
  Sapphire, Diamond & Platinum Ring
42.61 carat cushion cut gemstone from China

Previous Exhibitions

Garden of Light: Works by Paula CrevoshayCrevoshay

April 13–August 11, 2013
Wertz Gallery: Gems and Jewelry, in Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems

Featuring nearly 70 fine art jewelry pieces by award-winning designer Paula Crevoshay, Garden of Light showcases designs inspired by nature and created from precious raw materials, including gold, opal, sapphire, and incredibly rare conch pearls. From a magnificent orchid pendant to a tiny spider pin, these one-of-a-kind pieces celebrate the beauty and interdependencies of the animal, plant, and mineral kingdoms.

Garden of Light: Works by Paula Crevoshay is presented by:

Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection
December 13, 2011–March 4, 2012

This world-famous exhibition and the accompanying book reveal an intriguing story of American history and foreign policy as told through more than 200 of Secretary Albright’s pins. In 1994, Saddam Hussein’s government-controlled press referred to then-U.S. Ambassador to the UN Albright as an “unparalleled serpent.” She then wore a golden snake brooch to her next meeting on Iraq, beginning a career-long practice of using jewelry to convey and reinforce diplomatic messages. According to Albright, “jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal.” Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection demonstrates the power of jewelry to communicate through a style and language all its own. This exhibition has been organized by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. Generous support for this exhibition was provided by Bren Simon and for the exhibition catalogue by St. John Knits. Sponsored by First Niagara. Additional sponsorship provided by Women's Initiative@Eckert Siemens and Louis Anthony Jewelers.

Kieselstein-CordPittsburgh Adorned: Classic to Contemporary
June 12–October 17, 2010

More than 80 exquisite pieces from local private collections and Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History celebrate the many passions—including love, status, and even politics—that jewelry evokes. The exhibition explores design trends of the past 200 years and features works by Alexander Calder, Barry Kieselstein-Cord (bracelet photo at right), and David Webb, as well as contemporary local designers ROY and Ronald McNeish. The exhibition is presented by Orr’s Jewelers.

The Materials section of the exhibition includes historic and contemporary examples crafted from the three materials most associated with Pittsburgh—glass, steel, and aluminum—as well as from the gold and gems traditionally associated with jewelry. The Designers portion of Pittsburgh Adorned presents the big names associated with jewelry, including artists better known for their work in other fields. The Style and Meaning section explores major trends of the past 200 years and the depth of symbolism that jewelry embodies—whether overtly or by the circumstance of its creation or acquisition. Eckert Seamans First Niagara Louis Anthony

Luxe Life: Masterpieces of American Jewelry
September 28, 2007–January 6, 2008

The history of American jewelry reflects the history of America itself. Key pieces featured in the exhibition range from the nature-inspired and patriotic jewelry of the late 19th century, to fashion and Hollywood influenced work of the mid 20th century to the most important American jewelry designers working today. The exhibition includes a spectacular Alexander Calder necklace and tiara as well as a Mauboussin bracelet that was once owned by Mae West. In all, the exhibit will be feature almost 100 pieces of stunning and historic jewelry.

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