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GIA Museum Tour — Recap

GIA Museum Tour — Recap


If you missed the tour of the GIA Museum, please make a mental note to attend any future tour opportunities here! The event was delightful, educational, and filled with beautiful and historic jewelry. 

Our private tour began with the library. Two of our board members, Chris (jobs) and Dianna (treasurer) work at the GIA Library, and joined us for this portion of the tour. (By the way, congratulations are in order to Chris, who recently received her Graduate Gemologist degree!)  Paula Rucinski, the library manager, walked us through its collection and archives, pointing out the variety of materials on the shelves, and shared stories of the library’s digitization project.

For the past few years, the library has been digitizing its rarest books. These files are now available to the public via the Internet Archive. The library’s catalog links directly to digitized copies of rare books such as Pliny’s Natural History from 1496, and a gorgeous, hand-written and hand-illustrated book of British Mineralogy by Martha Proby.

Unfortunately, no photography was permitted in the Jewels of India exhibit, or I would have taken photos of both the gems and the informational displays detailing the history behind them.

The exhibit was stellar, not only for the jewels, but also for the detailed educational information included with each item. For instance, there was a wonderful educational display describing the idea of “navaratna” — sacred gemstones representing aspects of Hindu astrology, as well as examples of navaratna in the jewelry on display. More information on this exhibit can be found on the GIA’s Jewels of India page.

Here are some photos of our tour! Thank you again to everyone at GIA for your hospitality, and for giving us each a copy of a book on gemstones.

A 400 lb art piece made of three pieces of rutilated quart, hanging from the ceiling and illuminated by narrow windows.

This 400 lb “pendant” of rutilated quartz is stunning to behold, but one thing especially cool about it is that twice a year, on the vernal and autumnal equinox,  the sun shines through the quartz and creates a beautiful rainbow along the stairway across the building!

A large slice of pink and green Liddicoatite

Liddicoatite, named after GIA founder Richard Liddicoat, is a distinctive type of tourmaline, a gemstone that can be found in San Diego. The museum had several gorgeous examples of tourmaline, including a two-finger butterfly ring carved from watermelon tourmaline.  I especially love the concentric triangles (or it can look like a Mercedes Benz symbol) within this stone.

A woman with her palms on a glass display case of trillion-cut gemstones

Cindy found some trillion-cut pink gems that matched her outfit perfectly.

Miniature musical instruments carved from a variety of gemstones

Lapis lazuli, rose quartz, malachite, rutilated quartz, turquoise, obsidian, black onyx, what else? Oh yeah, YES PLEASE.

Our small, but thoroughly captivated, group!

Do you think this statue of Richard Liddicoat is life-size?

SLA members pose for a photo at the GIA

Be sure to join us next time!

-Jamie Lin, SLA San Diego President-Elect

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