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GEMS museum, Moscow

Last Updated: 2nd Dec 2009

By Jolyon & Katya Ralph

The GEMS Museum, Moscow

Earlier this year I visited several museums in Moscow, Russia. The first of these I'm reporting on for is the "Samotsvety" or "GEMS" Museum (or музей Самоцветы in Russian), which is part of the Ministry of Natural Resources in Moscow. The museum is open to the public, there is a small admission charge of 30 roubles (around 1 US dollar). Photography is not usally allowed, however we were given specical permission to take photographs for this mindat report.

The GEMS museum

This museum consists of two sections, this half, the main gallery, is dedicated to the mineralogical diversity of the territories of the former Soviet Union, with mostly large specimens of a variety of mineral species found during geological surveying and mining.

One cabinet is dedicated to quartz crystals - which during soviet times were of strategic importance for electronics (before the industrial level production of synthetic quartz made this unnecessary). Here I am standing in front of it.

Me and the quartzes

Here's one sample, large datolite crystals from Dalnegorsk, Russia:

Datolite from Dalnegorsk

And a large slab of Charoite from the type locality, this slab is around a meter and a half across.

Charoite slab

The second half of the museum is a display of gem minerals with cut and uncut stones, and carved items using lapidary minerals from the former Soviet Union - and there are a great variety of semi-precious gemstones that are found within the territories, including jasper, rhodonite, lapis lazuli, malachite and others. Here's part of the display:

Lapidary display

And here's an example of the gem minerals - cut and uncut gem varieties of beryl.

Gem beryl from the former Soviet Union

Also within this section are a selection of artistic creations made with semiprecious stones, including some original Fabergé artworks from the late 19th/early 20th century.

Stone artwork creations

Here's a close-up of one, entitled 'Warrior' by V.V.Konovalenko (1967) - you can read more about him here.

Warrior by V.V.Konovalenko

The museum is a enjoyable and informative stop on any geological tour of Moscow. I'll be adding reviews on mindat soon of all the other mineral museums I visited in Moscow (it has the largest density of mineral museums of any city in the world!).

The museum website can be visited here.

The museum is open for visitors on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday - 11.00 a.m. - 17.00 p.m. and on Saturday - 11.00 a.m. - 16.00 p.m.

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