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The Smithsonian National Gem Collection Unearthed

Surprising Stories Behind the Jewels

Evening Program on Zoom

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1A0153
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Of all the objects in the National Museum of Natural History, its magnificent gems perhaps best, and uniquely, provide an intersection of natural science, human history, culture, romance, and artistic skill and creativity—set against the allure of immense value and awesome beauty.

Jeffrey Post, curator of the U.S. National Gem and Mineral Collection at the Natural History Museum reveals the scandals, mysteries, and human stories behind the world’s most famous gems, including the Hope Diamond, Carmen Lucía Ruby, Hooker Emerald, and Blue Heart Diamond. He also provides fascinating facts surrounding rarely displayed gems from the Smithsonian vault and the additions made to the collection since 1997.

Curator of the collection since 1991, Post shows how these rare and beautiful jewels have come to encapsulate stories about the individuals—from ordinary people to kings, emperors, maharajas, celebrities, and captains of industry—who once owned or were associated with them, for better or worse. He also discusses the geological forces that went into their creation.  

Post’s book The Smithsonian National Gem Collection Unearthed: Surprising Stories Behind the Jewels (Smithsonian Books) is available for purchase.

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