Just back from Tucson, this little fellow is an extinct critter called a eurypterid. It’s one of the acquisitions from this year’s enormous Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, where we join other national and international museums annually to show off our specimens, make new purchases, and talk shop. The long tail spike has led some …
What caught your eye in this photograph–did the pink rhodonite stand out, or was it the contrasting ribbons of black? Oddly enough, the same element is responsible for both of those colors: manganese!
What color is this mineral? Look at it one way, and it appears blue. Turn it sideways, and it becomes bright purple! What exactly is going on?
Halloween has passed, but the scares continue with this slippery substance: mercury! The faded label on this vial, acquired in a recent donation, says, “Mercury from thermometer.” Inside, a silver blob bounces back and forth when the vial is shaken. But what is this toxic liquid doing in a blog post from a mineral museum?
Check out this recent donation from master faceter Steve Richards. At first glance, it may seem like just another large faceted stone… until you peer into the middle. Look closely and you’ll see a decoration fit for Halloween! Just how did that get there?
October’s birthstone can be a bit confusing: what is “precious” opal, anyway? Is it different from fire opal? And what kinds of opals are “common”? This post is a short primer for all your opal terminology needs.
You’ve known how to name 3D shapes since elementary school. They’re easy: cube. Cylinder. Pentagonal dodecahedron?
Quick, name a purple mineral! Did you say amethyst? Or perhaps fluorite? While those minerals may show standout examples of the most royal of colors, others may show off fine purples, too.
The outdoorsy among us who have spent time in the Seattle area are surely familiar with Mount Si, a popular hiking destination close to the city. But did you know that Mount Si hosts beautiful minerals as well as incredible views? This specimen is on its way back to the box after three months on …
You’ll almost never see gorgeous red realgar crystals on display, and if you do, it won’t be for long. Why? It turns out that realgar is one of several minerals that changes and degrades when exposed to light. If left on display, this light-sensitive crystal would begin to turn dark and eventually change into an …