Dr. Jeffrey E. Post, provided a lively discussion on the The National Gem Collection. The history, benefactors, gems and jewelry were all fully described in the presentation as well as in the book:
“The National Gem Collection” by Smithsonian Institution and Jeffrey E. Post
Dr. Post explored the rich, fascinating stories behind some of the famous people, gems, and jewelry that made the National Collection the world’s greatest collection.
Historic patrons such as:
Harry Winston, who in 1958 presented the Smithsonian with the Hope Diamond. Harry Winston envisioned the institution assembling a gem collection to rival the royal treasuries of Europe — “crown jewels” that would belong to the American public.
Marjorie Merriweather Post, Cora Hubbard Williams, Janet Annenberg Hooker, Libbie Moody Thompson, Olivia B James, just to name a few.
The Smithsonian Institution was established with funds from the estate of James Smithson (1765-1829), a chemist and mineralogist.
National Museum of Natural History – Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems, and Minerals features 2,500 minerals and gems, including the Hope Diamond, Hooker Emerald Brooch, and Star of Asia sapphire.
The Harry Winston Gallery houses the Hope Diamond.
The National Gem Collection features:
- the Dom Pedro aquamarine, the world’s largest faceted aquamarine, cut into an obelisk standing 13.75 inches tall and weighing 10,363 carats (4.6 pounds) donated by Jane Mitchell and Jeffery Bland
- the Cindy Chao Black Label Masterpiece Royal Butterfly Brooch (2009), composed of 2,328 gems, including sapphires, diamonds, rubies, and tsavorite (green) garnets, for a total weight of 77 carats; many of the gems fluoresce under ultraviolet light (to be added March 6, 2013)
- 17.08 carat, color-changing Whitney Alexandrite from Coralyn Wright Whitney
- the Marie Antoinette diamond earrings from Mrs Eleanor Barzin
- a 263-carat diamond necklace and a diadem (tiara) given by Napoleon to Empress Marie-Louise from Marjorie Merriweather Post
- the Janet Annenberg Hooker fancy yellow diamonds
- 2 topaz crystals from Brazil, weighing 111 and 70 pounds respectively, and a 23,000-carat cut-and-polished topaz
- a 423-carat sapphire set in diamonds from Mrs. John A Logan
- the DeYoung red and pink diamonds from Sydney DeYoung
- the 127-carat Portuguese diamond, the largest cut diamond in the collection from Harry Winston
- the Rosser Reeves ruby
- the Carmen Lucia Ruby, weighing 23.1-carats, is one of the largest faceted Burmese rubies known to exist. The stone is set in platinum and flanked by 2 triangular colorless diamonds measuring 1.1 and 1.27 carats. Donated by Dr. Peter Buck in memory of his loving wife, Carmen Lucia
The Minerals and Gems Gallery features some 2,000 specimens grouped by shape, color, growth, and other characteristics. The Smithsonian’s gem and mineral collection, is one of the largest of its kind in the world, with 10,000 gems and 375,000 mineral specimens, . The collection is for exhibitions and scientific research.
The Mine Gallery features a re-creation of 4 mines showing crystal pockets and ore veins in created dioramas.
There is always a full house when Jeffrey E. Post speaks, DCGIA thanks Dr. Post for shring the night with us.