Every Gemstone Has a Story to Tell

My Visit to the #Natural #History #Museum

My Visit to the #Natural #History #Museum
 Recently I made a trip to London’s Natural History Museum, located in the central part of the city, in the Borough of South Kensington. This historical paradise is not one to miss if you are travelling in the United Kingdom. With a collection of bones from dinosaurs to expositions on delicate butterflies, it houses everything under its royal roof.

During my day at the museum, I was consumed, if not for a better word by all the gems in the room of Minerals and of course “The Vault”. Each gemstone in this heaven was placed with such precision to display its characteristics and beautiful phenomena.

I saw some unforgettable gems, some of which you have probably heard of or seen and some you might not have even known existed. Through this post, I will show you all the gems that took my breath away.

Fancy wearing fossilised wood as a pendant or as a ring? And by this, I do not mean the coal we use to cook up a delicious barbecue. I am talking about a bark that has fossilised over time to become a beautiful gemstone.

The plant tissue in this bark has been replaced by minerals over the years and has turned it into petrified wood. This bark resembles Agates in so many ways when set in gold as a pendant, it would surely steal your heart.

A close up of the petrified wood

Another mineral that I was amazed to see was Asbestos. This stringy mineral made up of silicate minerals has the property to withstand heat and fire and absorb sound extremely well. This has also made it very popular in the building industry for insulation and is sewn together to make mats and fabrics.

Garnet is gemstone species that you will see in all the colour ranges known to man. The gems come in deep green colours as Tsavorite to the orangey hues seen in Hessonite. Hessonite garnet has always amused me by its internal characteristics. Distinct to only this variety of gemstone Hessonite Garnet has what is commonly called the “scotch in water” effect. Familiar to all of you who enjoy their glass of cognac, this gemstone will resonate with you perfectly.

Hessonite in its rough form


Scotch in Water effect seen in Hessonite Garnet


Solid crystal inclusions seen in Hessonite Garnet

Another tree that took caught my attention that day, and will surely catch yours is the large Sequoia tree that is on display in the museum. One of the largest trees in the world, with a width reaching 1 storey, this tree has almost 200 seeds per cone which can take over 200 years to open and release. Praiseworthy for its sheer size, each concentric circle is an insight into the number of years the tree has seen, and that count can go up to a few centuries.

The sequoia seeds and the cone

Diamonds will always attract attention and when you see a range of colours all together, it is definitely icing on the cake. In the Vault of the museum, they had on display the Aurora Pyramid of Hope. A pyramid made of 225 naturally coloured diamonds that took 25 years to collect. This Aurora Pyramid as its name suggests transforms under UV light. This change is worlds apart from the colour of the stones seen in daylight.

The different natural colours seen in diamonds
The Aurora seen under UV fluorescence

If you spend enough time at the Aurora Pyramid, you will see all the natural colours of diamonds that have ever been excavated which makes its one of the rarest sights in the world. Now that’s something you won’t want to miss!

I have covered quite a few posts on synthetics and their properties but I have never been able to show you some of the synthetic rough boules of Synthetic Sapphire first hand ever. At the museum, they had on display different boules of Synthetic Sapphire and Synthetic Ruby which, although ever so common these days, it is interesting to see how man has been able to replicate so easily what nature takes years to craft. These Rubies are cut and polished out of the top red portion that you can see. They have the same chemical and physical appearance as their natural counterpart, although, under magnification, a trained gemologist can easily distinguish between the two.

Partially grown boule of Synthetic Ruby

Those were only some of the beautiful minerals and gems I captured with my sisters DSLR camera. I will surely cover a few more through my other blogs, so keep watching this webpage!

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