I had a successful trip to Tucson, Arizona in January/February of this year. This is an annual event where the Section of Minerals participates in the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show by not only exhibiting a mineral display, the Carnegie Mineralogical Award is also presented during the show, and many of the minerals acquired for the collection are found amongst the dozens of venues around the city where vendors are selling their specimens. Numerous motels turned into shopping centers starting as early as January 28th, where each room is a separate store for an individual vendor. Tent shows were set up along streets and in parking lots. The Tucson Convention Center housed two major shows: The American Gem Trade Association Show (AGTA), which was held February 5th through 10th, and the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, which was held February 14th through 17th. In total, I brought back 10 specimens acquired for the collection, five of which were acquired specifically for exhibit in Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems or Wertz Gallery: Gems and Jewelry. Two gemstones were put on display in the “What is a Gemstone?” exhibit in Wertz Gallery on March 12th: a 44.27 carat, cushion cut spodumene from Afghanistan, and a 7.08 carat, trillion cut titanite (also known as sphene) from Zimbabwe.
A special exhibit to highlight the museums acquisitions will be put in Hillman Hall on March 26th that will feature a world class Kermesite specimen from China. This specimen measures 20 cm and is probably the finest example of its species in the world. The largest kermesite in our collection prior to this acquisition is only 3cm.
Two other specimens will be going on display soon in the Systematic Collection area of Hillman Hall: a blue tabular beryl from Afghanistan in the Silicates 2 case, and a bornite from Montana in the Sulfides 2 case. The beryl is a recent discovery in Afghanistan that is different than any other type of beryl, while the bornite was collected sometime in the 1950s in Butte, Montana which is known as the best locality in the United States for this species. Watch for announcements of when these two special pieces go on exhibit!
Debra Wilson is the Collection Manager for the Section of Minerals at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Museum employees are encouraged to blog about their unique experiences and knowledge gained from working at the museum.