All That Glitters - The Splendor & Science of Gems & Minerals

by Carrie 9. October 2010 04:47

A couple of weeks ago my friend, Mona Lee Nesseth and The Fashionable Women of Chapman invited a group of us to go to San Diego's Natural History Museum to view an exceptional exhibit featuring gems & minerals of California.  We were given a wonderful private tour by Mona Lee Nesseth (a gemologist and estate jeweler,) Elise B. Misiorowski (exhibit curator of San Diego Natural History Museum) and Ulysses Grant Dietz (senior curator, curator of decorative arts at the Newark Museum & great-great grandson of President Ulysses S. Grant.)  After the private tour we headed over to the newly restored US Grant Hotel and had a fabulous lunch while listening to Ulysses speak about the "illustrious heritage" of the Grant Family. 

I was so impressed by the gorgeous collection of prized gems and beautiful display.  I really enjoyed the GIA ultra-violet light demonstration of the Auror Butterfly exhibit that displayed 260 loose diamonds laid out in the shape of a butterfly.  It took the collector over 12 years to acquire such rare colored diamonds.  The display of diamonds under an ultra violet light shows that some of the diamonds actually glow and are fluorescent.  It was spectacular!  Take a look at some of the photos of the exceptional pieces that Mona had on display, some of which are from her own private estate.   Click on the link below to read more about the All That Glitters Exhibit going on now at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Tony Duquette Box (Caja), circa 1995 Lapis lazuli, aquamarine, mother-of-pearl, gold.  Courtesy of Mona Lee Nesseth.

Diamond display.  Mona Lee Nesseth owns the diamond cross in this display case.

This is a torquoise and gold snake bracelet with ruby eyes from the Victorian period c. 1870.  This piece is from Mona Lee Nesseth's private collection.  Photographed by Robert Weldon.

A beautiful 62 carat tsavorite found in Tanzania (a natural color green garnet) and diamond necklace on loan from a private collection.  This Tsavorite was considered to be possibly the largest and finest Tsavorite ever found.  

Blue saphire and diamond necklace by Boucheron c. 1950 - the saphires are from Sri Lanka.  Photographed by Robert Weldon.

The Aurora Butterfly of Peace, GIA's ultra-violet light demonstration. 260 loose colored diamonds shown in the shape of a butterfly under day light.

The Aurora Butterfly of Peace, GIA's ultra-violet light demonstration. 260 loose colored diamonds shown in the shape of a butterfly.  Some of the diamonds actually fluoress under special lights.

Moonstone Cameo of Venus with Cupid carved by Paul Brandt set in platinum and diamonds c. 1915 on loan by a private collector.  Photographed by Robert Weldon.

Diamond and platinum cross pendant from the Edwardian period c. 1900 on loan by owner Mona Lee Nesseth.  Photographed by Robert Weldon.

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