Friday, February 03, 2012

GIA Museum Spotlights Rare Book Collection

The Gemological Institute of America's (GIA) latest museum exhibit, "Tablet to Tablet: Treasured Pages from Past to Present," showcases more than 26,000 pages from rare books on gems, minerals and natural science dating back to the 15th century. The collection is on display at the GIA museum in Carlsbad, California, and will be open to the public through mid-year.

The exhibit encompasses the development of gemology, crystallography, jewelry manufacturing and design, the valuation of gemstones and precious metals, diamond mining and more. Among the 15 cases of books and distinctive objects is the documentation of one family’s incredible wealth, "The Romanov jewels and regalia."

''Visitors are amazed at how fascinating rare books are when combined with gems, jewels and images that reveal their stories,'' said Dona Dirlam, the director of GIA’s Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center. ''The museum and library have assembled the best of the best from our archives; books written in Roman times, those printed around the time of [Christopher] Columbus, and one written by a 17th-century French diamond merchant about his travels to India.''

The oldest book on view is a 1496 edition of "Pliny’s Natural History," which includes content dating back to the year 77. Pliny died during the first recorded eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, yet his surviving records serve as the foundation of ancient gemology.

One-of-a-kind works include original renderings of jewelers’ designs, a handwritten book from 1840 about minerals from Great Britain illustrated with intricate hand-colored plates, and a self-published book containing original artwork that the author, Wendell Wilson, created for the "Mineralogical Record."

No comments: