Minerals and rocks have been taken from the Earth's crust and used to adorn people and objects since prehistoric times because of their rich colours and light-catching properties. The Museum has a varied collection of gemstones, some of which are on display in the upper gallery.
A gem or gemstone is a naturally occurring mineral, which is used for decorative purposes after being shaped, faceted or polished. The most well-known gemstones are those classified as precious, e.g. diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires, but there are also many semi-precious gemstones such as garnet, topaz and turquoise. Other materials used for jewellery are also considered to be gemstones, despite not being minerals, for example rocks such as lapis lazuli or jasper and organic material such as amber or pearl.
Explore the gemstone collection by searching for "gemstone" in the basic search or using the advanced search and selecting Earth Collection from the drop down menu and Specimen Type = "gemstone".
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