The newly opened (November 2006) permanent exhibit hall called the Lester and Sue Smith Gem Vault of Houston's Museum of Natural Science complements the Cullen Hall of Gems and Mineral - a world-renowned collection of some of the finest gems and jewelry.

The collection boasts a magnificient 1,869-carat natural emerald crystal, the largest and most spectacular ever recovered in North America, the world's finest aquamarine, a gem first mined in 1938 and the world's finest Tsavorite garnet (144 carat) which is green, a rare colour for garnets - some consider the Tsavorite garnet finer than emeralds. And the impossibly large 2765 carat Boulder Opal.

Other jewelry highlights include stunning emerald, platinum and diamond tiara shown in the picture and a magnificent blue star sapphire. More about star gemstones in a future post.

If ever I was lucky enough to go to Houston, I know where I am headed!

Houston Museum of Natural Science :

Image from Press Release :

Boulder Opal :

Internationl Coloured Gem Association's article on Tsavorite garnets: