GIA Museum Launches Historical Jewelry Campaign

The Gemological Institute of America Museum is launching a new campaign to build the “GIA Historical Collection,” a comprehensive assemblage of jewelry, object d’arts and gemstones from all time periods and cultures world-wide.

The GIA Museum currently has some prized pieces, which are pictured.

Floral Brooch
Late 18th century floral brooch 
in diamonds and silver. Gift of 
Del and Bob Noland
Photo: GIA and Tino Hammid

“We intend to create a wide-ranging, world-class collection that captures the essence of each period in gem and jewelry history,” said Elise Misiorowski, GIA Museum director. “People are always fascinated by historical pieces. It’s our goal to bring together a variety of significant treasures representing different episodes in history.”


Sultan’s Box
This hand fabricated, rococo-style Russian box, circa 1850, 
belonged to the last sultan of Turkey, Mehmed VI. The ornate 
gold case is enhanced with sapphires, diamonds, rubies, and 
emeralds, and fitted with a classic Russian hinge. 
Gift in memory of Betty H. Llewellyn. 
Photo: GIA and Tino Hammid

“Jewelry is like a time capsule,” adds Misiorowski. “It can tell you about the economics, social structure, and technology of the culture it came from. Jewelry preserves this information in a very concentrated way. It’s like a Rosetta stone; if you know how to read it, you can interpret the socioeconomic climate of the period.

Belle Epoque Corsage Ornament circa 1905 
featuring a 39.80 ct. pink topaz with diamonds 
in platinum. Gift of Stephen and Eileen Silver, 
S.H. Silver Co. 

Photo: GIA and Harold and Erica Van Pelt.

Misiorowski also noted, “Gems also have their own individual story to tell. Their sources, significant owners, and other details give them their own personality and place in history.”

The Institute hopes to not only increase the number of pieces in its collection, but acquire examples from many different eras as well. The Institute anticipates this collection will quickly become an important addition to the museum because donors, visitors and students alike will benefit from sharing the stories of these intriguing pieces.

The GIA Museum plans to use the Historical Collection for display in other venues on a regular basis, accompanied by lecturers and experts, and pieces from the collection will be showcased further via podcasts and other educational vehicles. Misiorowski said “We hope the GIA Historical Collection will grow to inspire, educate and excite viewers today and for generations to come.”

In addition, the GIA Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center will archive any accompanying documents for donated pieces that detail the item’s background and provenance in its Cartier Rare Book Repository and Archives.

For more information on the GIA Historical Collection contact Kimberly Vagner, GIA project manager of In-Kind Donations at 760-603-4150 or Kimberly.vagner@gia.edu.