Ever since I was taken on a journey through the inner bowels of an opal during the opening credits of the Safdie Brothers classic Uncut Gems, I have had a hankering to stare at precious stones in real life, and yet have been presented with few options for actually doing so. After a four-year closure, however, one of the premier locations for gem-gazing in NYC, the Mignone Halls of Gems and Minerals in the American Museum Of Natural History, will reopen on June 12th.
The halls were closed for renovations in 2017 and were supposed to reopen in the fall of 2020, but the pandemic delayed things.
When the renovations were first announced, the original renderings that the museum released of the new look appeared disturbingly ultra-fluorescent and similar to an Apple Store, but a new photo shows a blessedly darker lair. However, the 1970s carpeted vibe looks to be gone forever.
Still, the refurbished 11,000-square-foot halls holds some of the most dazzling gems in the world, including “the legendary 563-carat Star of India sapphire, the 632-carat Patricia Emerald, and the 110-carat diamond Organdie necklace designed by Michelle Ong for Carnet.”
There are even some other new, never-before-exhibited specimens for mineral enthusiasts, including “a pair of towering, sparkling amethyst geodes that are among the world’s largest on display; a slice of a 35-million-year-old metasequoia—a petrified dawn redwood from the Cascade Mountains; the 9-pound almandine Subway Garnet discovered under Manhattan’s 35th Street in 1885; and the Tarugo, a 3-foot-tall cranberry-colored elbaite tourmaline that is one of the largest intact mineral crystal clusters ever found.”
You can see photos of a few of these highlights up above, plus a video showing off the new hall below.
Altogether, the halls will showcase more than 5,000 specimens sourced from 95 countries. For its first temporary exhibit, there will be Beautiful Creatures, which will feature some of the world’s most ornate animal-themed jewelry designs, including Cartier’s panthers and Suzanne Belperron’s butterflies.