National Museum of Natural History
10th Street and Constitution Avenue, NW
2nd Floor, East Wing Floor Plan
This hall features 2,500 minerals and gems, including the Hope Diamond, Hooker Emerald Brooch, and Star of Asia sapphire. It also explores the birth and evolution of the solar system and the earth's changing surface and is divided into the following sections:
The Harry Winston Gallery houses the Hope Diamond, in a specially designed case.
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)
- 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)
- the Marie Antoinette diamond earrings
- a 263-carat diamond necklace and a diadem (tiara) given by Napoleon to Empress Marie-Louise
- 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
- the DeYoung red and pink diamonds
- the 127-carat Portuguese diamond, the largest cut diamond in the collection
- 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.
The Minerals and Gems Gallery features some 2,000 specimens grouped by shape, color, growth, and other characteristics.
The Mine Gallery features a re-creation of 4 mines showing crystal pockets and ore veins in created dioramas.
The Plate Tectonics Gallery illustrates how earthquakes, mountain chains, and volcanoes result from the constantly shifting plates of the Earth's surface and features the "Plate Tectonics Theater" and interactive computer stations.
The Moon, Meteorites, and Solar System Gallery explores the birth and evolution of our solar system through films, computer interactives, and specimens and features moon rocks, a touchable Mars rock, meteorites, and stardust.
The Rocks Gallery focuses on how rocks record and verify the geological processes that have shaped our planet—erosion and deposition, which destroy and create rocks on Earth's surface and heat and pressure, which transform and melt rocks within the Earth.
- The National Gem Collection, Smithsonian Institution and Jeffrey E. Post
- Hope Diamond: The Legendary History of a Cursed Gem, Richard Kurin