A sheet metal worker quiety assembled specimens of minerals during his lifetime as an avocation, and donated the extensive mineral collection to the University of Arizona. Hubert C. Monmonier was instrumental in putting the Arizona Mineral Museum on the international platform, donating a collection conservatively valued at eight million dollars, according to Mark Candee, curatorial museum specialist.
One of the top five mineral museums in the world is located on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson at the Flandrau Science Center on the lower level. The Mineral Museum is 115 years young and originally was housed in the Geo-Science and engineering buildings. It was originally established to showcase the minerals from Arizona, also known as the copper state. More than 2500 pieces of minerals are currently on display.
The Museum is a research museum and has an extensive database with the DNA of thousands of minerals. Technology today is such that an ruby from Burma can be distinguished from an ruby from India or South Carolina, Candee said. The University of Arizona has one of the best labs in the world for identification and ten to fifteen new minerals are identified each year. The Museum works in conjunction with the space program in an effort to determine the DNA of “space materials”.
The best minerals from Bisbee and part of the private collection from the Graham Family will be on exhibit for six months beginning February 6. Additional minerals from the Smithsonian will also be displayed. American Indian jewelery, made with local minerals, are also on exhibit.
Minerals in today’s economy are definitely not loosing their value, Candee said. All one has to do is look at the price of gold, silver, and platinum. Those may be the most popular investment minerals for the general public, but people who know minerals invest in them for capital appreciation as well as their beauty.
Rare and amazing minerals are on display at the Museum and for those lay people, wandering around the Gem and Mineral show, with eyes open, will provide a brief on the multitudes of minerals, their colors, facets, and pricing.
A trip to the Mineral Museum on the UofA campus may be in order after touring the show, as well as spending time at the Main Show February 11 – 14 at the Tucson Convention Center. The theme is “Gems and Minerals”., verry appropriate!
of A Mineral Museum: http://www.uamineralmuseum.org/gallery/
Tucson Gem and Mineral Society: http://www.tgms.org/tgms.htm