Minerals of China

Don’t miss our new exhibit, “Crystalline Treasures: the Mineral Heritage of China.  You’ll see astonishing mineral specimens from China that have never been seen before in a public exhibition.  And you’ll learn about the ancient history and culture of China, a civilization that goes back five thousand years, a civilization that changed the world with the invention of gunpowder, paper, and silk.

Just as China has emerged as an economic power, so too its abundant minerals have recently  amazed the world of mineral collecting.  Chinese culture has a tradition of “scholar stones” used for philosophical contemplation, but it is only recently that the Chinese have turned to mineral collecting as we know it.  For centuries, while the West sought mineral specimens in underground mines and amassed collections, China’s incredible wealth of mineral specimens sat undiscovered.  Now, since the 1980s, the Chinese have realized the value of mineral specimens on the world market, and they have begun collecting themselves.  The result is an explosion of amazing specimens from dozens of new mineral localities in China.

Many of China’s minerals are the best in the world.  The size and sparkle of China’s incredible stibnite specimens have no equal.  Few other localities can match China’s fluorites, specimens that come in a gorgeous array of colors and crystals.  And the rich red and orange hues of China’s calcite crystals delight collectors around the globe.  The specimens on loan for this exhibit come from Dr. Rob Lavinsky, one of the world’s foremost collectors of Chinese minerals.  Whether you’re already a mineral collector, or new to the world of gems and minerals, the specimens in this exhibit will delight you.

Alongside the minerals you’ll learn about the past and present of China.  Today, the People’s Republic of China is rising as a world economic power after many decades of political upheaval.  In the past, China dominated Asia for thousands of years as China’s powerful dynasties pushed advances in science, technology, and art.

In this exhibit, you can marvel at the new minerals from China, and understand them in the larger context of Chinese history and culture.  Come discover China in all its facets!