The Houston Museum of Natural Science was founded in 1909 – meaning that the curators of the Houston Museum of Natural Science have been collecting and preserving natural and cultural treasures for a hundred years now. For this yearlong series, our current curators have chosen one hundred exceptional objects from the Museum’s immense storehouse of specimens and artifacts—one for each year of our history. Check back here frequently to learn more about this diverse selection of behind-the-scenes curiosities—we will post the image and description of a new object every few days.
This description is from Joel, the Museum’s President and Curator of Gems and Minerals. He’s chosen spectacular objects from the Museum’s mineralogy collection, which includes some of the most rare and fascinating mineral specimens in the world, that we’ll be sharing here – and at 100.hmns.org– throughout the year.
Spodumene (variety kunzite)
Pala Chief Mine, San Diego County, California
When the mineral spodumene occurs in lilac-colored crystals it is known as the variety kunzite (after the eminent Tiffany & Company mineralogist George F. Kunz, 1856-1932). The gorgeous 30-cm crystal shown here, from the Pala Chief mine in San Diego County, California, is one of the finest North American kunzite crystals ever recovered and the best that has been found in California.