Friday, August 18, 2017

Natural History Museum Of Los Angeles: Part 2

On our last post we talked a little about the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles but it is such a big topic we had to split it up into multiple posts.  I bet you can guess what todays post will be about. 
For those that know me, I have an obsessive love with gems and minerals.  Not necessarily the bling of jewelry but the incredible things that are spewed out of the earth naturally.  We all have our back stories in life.  Mine is one of recovering from gold fever.  Mine is one of fascination with the red layers of rocks in Moab, Utah, fossils in the dirt and the caves of the mountains.  I love mining town history and the draw of finding a gem of my own from the earth.  You can imagine my excitement when we left the space of the Dueling Dinos to see the wing of the entrance to the Gem and Mineral Hall. 

When they say hall I think of a long walkway with space on each side.  This is not what we found when we entered this hall.  It is a large room full of every kind of gem and mineral you can imagine.  It will tell you what a mineral is and how they differ from another.  You will learn about the differences between metamorphic, sedimentary and igneous creations. You will see displays showing the color changing abilities of rocks with florescent qualities that glow under UV lights.  You will learn things you never knew you never knew and you will love every minute of it. 

You can’t talk about gems and minerals of the world while in California without talking about gold.  The California Gold Rush began on January 24th, 1848 when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutters Mill.  The glittery gold brought a blast of immigration and money to the area of California.  With the increase in miners it also brought in ranchers, farmers, shop owners, bankers, saloon keepers and ladies of the night.  The United Stated jumped on the growth of the area and in September of 1850 California became a state.  This earned California the name The Golden State and it has since grown to the huge beast we know today.
Nature makes incredible things.  Some the displays we looked at I couldn’t imagine how they were ever removed and kept intact.  Crystals grow in so many ways and patterns.  It was like looking onto an alien planet but right here from our own backyard.  If you are looking for things from an alien planet though they have that too.  A meteorite cut in half looks like something imagined from a sci-fi movie.  The patterns and lines are so beautiful.  If you love the idea of something traveling through space and landing on Earth you will love to know that you can buy your very own meteorite in the Gem Store next door.  You can also buy geode bookends, crystals, books, jewelry, salt lamps and a variety of other related items.  We walked out with just a salt lamp though there were a handful of things I wanted to take home with me.  I used self-control and it was tough.
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While I loved to see all the displays in the Gem and Mineral Hall, the Gem Vault was my favorite stop.  Here you found cut stones and jewelry quality items from all over the world.  When you go on a cruise you can take classes on the jewelry you can buy when you hit land.  Some of these stones are rare and hard to find which is what makes them worth taking a class on.  Here in the Gem Vault we were able to see rare gems like we had learned about but huge.  For example we saw a 15 carat Alexandrite bracelet from Russia.  Alexandrite is a fascinating gem.  Legends claim that it was discovered in 1834 on the same day the future Russian Czar Alexander II came of age so it was named honoring him.  What makes this gem stone unique is that it changes colors based on the light it is under.  It can be emerald green in the daylight but change to a ruby red under incandescent light.  It is one of the more valuable stones available.

 In the Gem Vault you can also see a display of Tanzanite, which is another rare stone that is running low on availability.  They have said that in our lifetime we will see the end of the mining of this beautiful blue stone.  If diamonds are your thing there is a display there too.  Most any stone you are wanting to see can be found in this one place on a simple display waiting to be enjoyed.  And to think, we came to this museum because our little lady wanted to see some dinosaurs.  We got to see those too but that will be on our next post.  

Until then make some memories! 


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