JTV Goes to London for the 2012 Gem-A Conference

Published on JTV.com: November 2012
A Personal Perspective on Travelling with Co-Founder Jerry Sisk
By: Tim Matthews, CEO & President

This is page 7 of a 10 page article on the Gem-A Conference in London. Read page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

The next day was very special starting with a private tour in the Minerals gallery of the British Natural History Museum. This architectural masterpiece of Alfred Waterhouse is home to a marvelous collection of rare gems, crystals and mineral specimens. On display we saw innumerable unique objects like the “snake stone” made of calcite formed inside an ammonite shell that takes on the appearance of the bones of a large snake.

Alan Hart, Curator of Mineralogy at the Natural History Museum, gave us a private tour including special specimens not on public display. Alan has worked at the NHM for over 30 years and holds a treasure in knowledge about its collection.


I've always thought of "The Vault" as a collection of the museum quality jewelry, gems and specimens offered by Jewelry Television, or items that we have that we keep in our vaults and only occasionally offer for sale. I didn't know that the Natural History Museum had its own "Vault" with some of the most exquisite mineral specimens and gems in the world. Alan was kind enough to take us through the "Vault" to show us rarities like the “Medusa” emerald crystal specimen from Zambia. The emerald crystals seem like frozen green ice in their quartz matrix but, interestingly, notice the layers of white quartz that appear layered in the emerald crystals themselves. Also in the Vault we saw a rare Martian meteorite found in the village of Tissint in Morocco in 2011, the largest Martian meteorite in the collection. Many other interesting items in the Vault included Nakhla Martian meteorite, the Aurora Pyramid of Hope (a collection of 295 naturally colored diamonds), the Latrobe nugget of cubic gold crystals weighing 717 grams, an incredibly rare 57.26 carat padparadscha sapphire from Sri Lanka and the Devonshire emerald weighing 1,384 carats.