A Guide to Places with Pictures and Stories from Life

The Vault and the Cursed Amethyst at the Natural History Museum London

The Latrobe Gold Nugget

Latrobe Gold Nugget made of rare crystallized gold.

At the end of the Minerals Hall at London’s Natural History Museum is The Vault which contains a number of precious objects including the Latrobe Gold Nugget, the Medusa Emerald, the Cursed Amethyst and a Martian Meteorite.   19 more pics ↓ .   And, more at the Earth’s Treasury and Earth’s Treasury 2.

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The Vault

These are just a few of the rare items in the vault.

Yellow Sapphire and Padparadscha

Sapphires come in various colours and, like ruby, are made of corundum. The orange/pink is a rare colouring of sapphire known as padparadscha.

Imperial Topaz

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Rain in Seawater – An Aquamarine variety of Beryl

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The Scotch Koh-i-Noor – A Goshenite variety of Beryl

It is a bit of a mystery how it got its name, as it probably came from Brazil.

Sapphire Button

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Opal Necklace

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The Hope Chrysoberyl

This was once a part of the collection of Henry Philip Hope along with the Hope Diamond.

The Medusa Emerald

The medusa is regarded as one of the world’s finest mineral specimens.

Cut Morganite

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Crystal within a Crystal

A pink morganite crystal that grew around a blue aquamarine core.

Amethyst Boulder

It is amazing to think what might be found inside an ordinary looking rock.  🙂

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The Cursed Amethyst

The Cursed Amethyst

It is reputed that the Cursed Amethyst was stolen from an Indian temple in 1857 and then passed through several unfortunate hands before being owned by Edward Heron-Allen who bequeathed it to the museum.  Whilst Heron-Allen owned the gem he had it kept in a bank vault within seven locked boxes.  The whole story can be found here.

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The Tissant Meteorite from Mars

Tissint Meteorite

Tissint Meteorite

The Tissant Meteorite landed near the village of Tissant in Morocco in 2011, taking 700,000 years to travel from Mars having being ejected by that planet.  Its particular importance derives from the indications that there was once liquid water on Mars.   If there is water, now beneath the surface, then solar-powered electricity can be used to split the H2O into Hydrogen and Oxygen.  The second can be used to support life, and both together as rocket fuel.

On the other hand, we could take more care of our own planet first.  🙂

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The Minerals Hall

With thousands of specimens.

Hydrohematite

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Iridescent crystals

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Iridescent Stalactites

Iridescent Stalactites

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Chalcotrichite

Chalcotrichite

More at the Earth’s Treasury.

15 responses

  1. Fascinating and amazing Graham!

    Like

    February 23, 2016 at 18:41

  2. Wow! Definitely going here on the next trip.

    Like

    February 23, 2016 at 21:41

    • Certainly intriguing although the vault is not very big.

      There is a new jewellery exhibition at the V &A. The Al Thani collection with a £10 entry fee. The won’t let me photograph there either. 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      February 23, 2016 at 23:20

  3. “On the other hand, we could take more care of our own planet first.” Yessirree!
    I’ve always been a fan of iridescent minerals.
    Is the “rain in seawater” a sapphire? Whatever else it is, it’s beautiful.

    Like

    February 24, 2016 at 00:39

    • I missed out “An aquamarine variety of beryl”. If you look closely the you can see the rain, as if in the distance, just below center.

      Thanks for the visit. How’s the weather ? 🙂

      Like

      February 24, 2016 at 01:32

      • It’s a strange winter in these parts 😉 We’ve had about average snow, but just downstate they’ve had a non-winter. We are used to about 2 meters a winter. A good bit of it melted, but we’re expecting a snow storm tonight. I’ll spruce the place up. And hide any aquamarines that were lurking just near the surface of the snowpack.

        Like

        February 24, 2016 at 19:58

  4. Wow – amazing! What a gem of a post (please excuse the pun… ;-))

    Like

    February 25, 2016 at 18:30

  5. :O That opal necklace needs to be mine! Time to get my thieving kit on again.

    Like

    March 15, 2016 at 22:44

    • You’ll have to get past Smaug first. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      March 16, 2016 at 14:34

      • Smaug doesn’t worry me for I have a ring of power! (I stole it during a previous jewellery raid… really it’s becoming a bit of a habit)

        Like

        March 20, 2016 at 15:37

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