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Friday, January 27, 2012

GIA Museum Spotlights Rare Book Collection

GIA Museum Shines Spotlight on Rare Book Collection
Original and one-of-a-kind archives on display

GIA’s (Gemological Institute of America) latest museum exhibit, Tablet to Tablet: Treasured Pages from Past to Present, showcases more than 26,000 pages from rare books on gems, minerals, and natural science dating back to the 15th century. The collection is on display at the GIA museum in Carlsbad and will be open to the public until early summer 2012.

Tablet to Tablet: Treasured Pages from Past to Present features rare books, minerals, crystals and period artifacts from throughout the history of mining and gemology. Image © GIA

 The exhibit encompasses the development of gemology, crystallography, jewelry manufacturing and design, valuation of gemstones and precious metals, diamond mining and more. Among the 15 cases of books and distinctive objects, is the documentation of one family’s incredible wealth: the Romanov jewels and regalia.

“Visitors are amazed at how fascinating rare books are when combined with gems, jewels and images that reveal their stories,” said Dona Dirlam, director of GIA’s Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center. “The museum and library have assembled the best of the best from our archives; books written in Roman times, those printed around the time of Columbus, and one written by a 17th-century French diamond merchant about his travels to India.”  

The oldest book on view is a 1496 edition of Pliny’s Natural History, which includes content dating back to 77 CE. Pliny died during the first recorded eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, yet his surviving records serve as the foundation of ancient gemology.

This edition of Marbode’s treatise, called a “lapidary”, was published in 1511.
Originally written in a 742-line poem, it is a list of 60 gemstones, some of which do not exist,
and is arranged in alphabetical order rather than by mineral species. Image © GIA
One-of-a-kind works include original renderings of jewelers’ designs, a handwritten book from 1840 about minerals from Great Britain illustrated with intricate hand-colored plates, and a self-published book containing original artwork that the author, Wendell Wilson, created for the Mineralogical Record.

For more information about Tablet to Tablet, visit the GIA website. Visitors can schedule a tour at the GIA campus in Carlsbad 24 hours in advance by email or calling 800-421-7250, ext. 4116 or 760-603-4116.

About GIA
An independent nonprofit organization, GIA (Gemological Institute of America), established in 1931, is recognized as the world’s foremost authority in gemology. GIA invented the famous 4Cs of Color, Cut, Clarity and Carat Weight in the early 1950s and in 1953, created the International Diamond Grading System™ which, today, is recognized by virtually every professional jeweler in the world.

Through research, education, gemological laboratory services, and instrument development, the Institute is dedicated to ensuring the public trust in gems and jewelry by upholding the highest standards of integrity, academics, science, and professionalism. Visit  

Source:  Gemological Institute of America

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