About Joel

Not only is Joel the President of the Museum, he’s also a curator. He has the rare distinction of having held almost every job here – including security guard, back before his museum career took him to distinguished posts all across the country. At HMNS, he built our outstanding collection of gems and minerals and the world-renowned Wiess Energy Hall before being appointed President in July 2004. Since, he’s brought us Lucy, Leonardo and…check back here for his updates on the next big things coming up.

100 Years 100 Objects: Morganite

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.

Beryl - variety MorganiteBeryl – Variety Morganite
White Queen Mine, San Diego County, California

The White Queen mine is famous for beautiful crystals of pink beryl (the gem variety “morganite,” named after financier J. P. Morgan). The pictured 7.9-cm crystal, found in 1964, may well be the best ever found there. It has good color, no damage, a glassy luster on the big hexagonal “c” face, and interesting crystal form, and it rests on a base of white albite crystals. Peter Bancroft, in his World’s Finest Minerals and Crystals (1973), considers this specimen to be the world’s finest example of pink beryl (although fans of examples from Madagascar and Brazil might put up an argument).

Marvel at the world’s most spectacular collection of natural mineral crystals in the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

You can see more images of this fascinating artifact – as well as the others we’ve posted so far this year – in the 100 Objects section at 100.hmns.org.

100 years – 100 Objects: Spodumene

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

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.

Marvel at the world’s most spectacular collection of natural mineral crystals in the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

You can see more images of this fascinating artifact – as well as the others we’ve posted so far this year – in the 100 Objects section at 100.hmns.org.

100 Years – 100 Objects: Zoisite

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.

Zoisite

Zoisite (var. tanzanite)
Merelani Hills near Arusha, Umba Valley, Tanzania

This magnificent, near-flawless crystal of tanzanite (the gemstone variety of the mineral zoisite) was found in Tanzania in 1991. As seen here, the specimen is an exceptional example of trichroism, whereby the same crystal exhibits three distinctly different colors, depending on the viewing angle. 
 
Marvel at the world’s most spectacular collection of natural mineral crystals in the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

You can see more images of this fascinating artifact – as well as the others we’ve posted so far this year – in the 100 Objects section at 100.hmns.org.

100 Year – 100 Objects: Beryl

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.

Beryl - variety Aquamarine

Beryl (variety Aquamarine)
Dusso, Northern Areas, Pakistan

Aquamarine crystals from northern Pakistan have been known for nearly a century, but superbly gemmy, lustrous, beautifully formed crystals on white feldspar matrix such as the one pictured have always been rare. Especially unusual is the remarkable clarity of the 13-cm crystal for its relatively large size, as larger crystals tend to have more internal flaws and milkiness.

Marvel at the world’s most spectacular collection of natural mineral crystals in the Cullen Hall of Gems and Minerals at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

You can see more images of this fascinating artifact – as well as the others we’ve posted so far this year – in the 100 Objects section at 100.hmns.org.