New GIA museum exhibit to be a showcase of gifts

Gifts to the Gemological Institute of America’s permanent collection will be the highlight of a new museum exhibit, “From the Vault: Gifts to Our Collection,” opening May 5 at the Institute’s world headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif.

Donations such as diamonds, natural and synthetic gemstones, gem minerals, pearls, jewelry, gem carvings, art objects, books, renderings, and antique diamond cutting equipment will be showcased in the Institute’s Mikimoto Rotunda through the end of October.

The display will include an array of Ramaura rubies, the legendary flux-grown synthetic gems, in both crystals and cut stones, as well as synthetic alexandrite gems. These were donated by Judith Osmer, CEO of J.O. Crystal, Inc. In addition, an extensive collection of rare abalone pearls and shells gifted to GIA by avid collector K.C. Bell will be presented in the exhibit.

Among the other items in the exhibit are two intarsia boxes of inlaid gem materials created by world-renowned artist Nicolai Medvedev. Intarsia is an intricate, labor-intensive form of mosaic lapidary art. The boxes were donated by Fred and Carol Seeman.

Visitors can glimpse a fine aquamarine (21.47 cts.) and diamond ring set in gold over platinum, donated by private collector Keith Wurtz. Crystals and cut gems of tashmarine, a newly discovered bright green variety of diopside donated by Bart Curren and Eric Braunwart of Columbia Gem House Inc., also will be on display. Other gem materials to be exhibited are specimens of diamonds, sapphires, tourmaline, rubies, aquamarine, morganite, spodumene, topaz, citrine, amethyst, ammolite, tanzanite, natural pearls, quartz, red beryl, and Oregon sunstones.

An RT Link bracelet, a chain link designed in honor of Richard T. Liddicoat (RTL), GIA’s former chairman and “The Father of Modern Gemology,” will be on view as well. The link bracelet was designed by CY Sheng, a graduate of GIA and a former instructor at the Institute, who said that RTL was his mentor and helped to build his confidence in becoming a designer.

Included among the many featured pieces are some charming animals carved from Maine tourmaline. In addition, a Balinese-inspired ammolite, spessartite, and tsavorite designer pendant/brooch created by Carolyn Tyler will be on display, along with the Magic Pearl pendant, a 15 mm Tahitian black pearl inlaid with opal and strung on a specially designed silk scarf, given to GIA by Gabriele Weinmann and Wigbert Stapff. Also on view will be a 69.88 ct. yellow-green Ukrainian Beryl carved by renowned lapidary artist, Michael Dyber, with his signature “Dyber Optic Dish” lapidary technique. Rare crystals of lazurite, the blue mineral in lapis lazuli, and carvings of the extraordinary material from Burma known as “maw-sit-sit” are among the pieces provided by William F. Larson.