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.
N’Chwaning Mine, Kuruman, Northern Cape Province, South Africa
The epitome of South African rhodochrosite is represented by gemmy, deep red scalenohedral crystals in solid clusters such as the beautiful 9.5-cm example pictured here. Though not quite as spectacular as the big rhombohedrons from the Sweet Home mine in Colorado, these clusters are highly valued for their deep red color, high transparency, brilliant sparkling luster, sharp crystal form, and large, aesthetic groupings.