Three exhibitions dedicated to precious stones and minerals.
By Sandrine Merle.
It is difficult to encapsulate the rich variety of this exhibition, which includes 500 gems and minerals from the Musée d’Histoire Naturelle’s collection (set off against 200 Van Cleef & Arpels pieces). Jewel lovers will be delighted by a chronological and thematic circuit including some remarkable specimens: a rainbow of tourmalines, a 184-carat Brazilian opal, Roger Caillois’ dreamlike stones including “Le Château” and “Calligraphie Royale” (on show for the first time), the 23 Melo pearls of Vietnamese emperor Bao Dai, Louis XVIII’s collection of sapphires and rubies, and replicas of the finest diamonds once belonging to Louis XIV. Another ravishing surprise: two beautiful sapphires mined in France, the other land of precious stones! I will come back to the whole exhibition in a few weeks, and the jewelry in particular.
“Gems” (postponed opening) at the Mineralogy and Geology Gallery
The microphotographs of Richard W. and Billie Hugues
The School of Jewelry Arts is exhibiting some fifteen microphotographs by gemologists Richard W. Hugues and his daughter Billie Hughes (founders of the Lotus Gemology laboratory in Bangkok). She will also be the guest speaker at the conference “Inside Out: Journey to the centre of the gem”. Through these images, she reveals the inner life of rubies and sapphires and their mysterious innards… We discover a series of astonishing tableaux, black graphite crystals and plaques of magnetite and hematite resembling flying saucers and breaking waves. Published in the Wall Street Journal, among others, these photographs are real contemporary art works.
“An iron constitution!”
This exhibition (whose title comes from an expression that arose in the first half of the 20th century, referring to the hyper-resistant metal) invites visitors to look at a collection of gems and minerals from the health angle in the broadest sense. Specimens, posters and books from the MINES’ heritage collection show that diamonds, rubies, sapphires, opals and amethysts have long been used as ingredients in not only the ancient but also the modern pharmaceutical industry. And the exhibition also shows that paradoxically, minerals generate pollution that is harmful to our health. A highly original viewpoint put forward by the students of the PSL (Paris Sciences et Lettres) University.
10 March – 4 May 2020 at the MINES ParisTech Mineralogy Museum
Banner image: swirls of exsolved particles light up the interior of a red spinel from Tanzania’s Mahenge region – Picture Richard W. Hughes