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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Unusual Gems

Photograph of a group of rare and unusual gems (NMNH G3548, G8817, G4941, and G8456) from the National Gem Collection
Photo by Chip Clark. Click to zoom.
SpecimenCatalog NumberLocalityWeight
ColemaniteNMNH G4941-00California, United States14.85 ct
SinhaliteNMNH G3548-00Sri Lanka43.5 ct
HambergiteNMNH G8817-00Betafo Dist., Madagascar5.93 ct
JeremejeviteNMNH G8456-00Namibia3 ct

Colemanite (bottom right) is one of the main sources of boron, and although gems such as this 14.9ct stone from Boron, California, are too soft to use in jewelry, they provide an interesting challenge for a skilled gem cutter. Sinhalite gems such as this huge 43.5ct yellowish stone (top) from Sri Lanka were once thought to be a variety of peridot. They were recognized as a distinct mineral in 1952 and named for the major source, Sinhala, the Sanskrit name for Sri Lanka. Also shown are a 5.9ct hambergite from Madagascar (left) and a light blue 2.98ct jeremejevite from Namibia (bottom).

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