Cal Academy's 'Gems and Minerals' Exhibit Is Back After Twelve Years


The Academy said it best when they described their re-invigorated exhibit of 400 unique jewels as "brilliant and beautiful, raw and refined." It's a breathtaking display of the literal gems that only Mother Nature, with millions of years, hundreds of thousands of PSI (pounds per square inch) under the mantle, and some fancy magma crystallization, could create.

Cal Academy's Gems and Minerals Unearthed exhibit has long been a favorite amongst museum goers and enthusiasts alike; the display has also been known to attract its fair share of macro photographers. (The displays, from the blue amethystine to silver jade, are all given specific UV and incandescent lighting to make each gem shine it's brightest.)

The exhibit takes you past the idea that these rocks are merely shiny and pretty by also showcasing how humankind has utilized stones and gems throughout history. From the Stone Age to the technology age, copper and silicates have shaped our railroads, arrowheads, and even our smartphones. Even your morning brushing routine has you coming tooth-to-tooth with certain silicates and aluminum isotopes.

Unlike the stones themselves, Gems and Minerals Unearthed won't be around forever. It did, after all, take a 12-year hiatus from the public. (As of now, no end-date has been given for the exhibit—but all good things can't last forever.) While we'd urge you to take a Sunday off from binge watching Westworld and walk around Cal Academy instead, we know our words can only do so much—that's why we've put together a slideshow of iPhone-lock-screen-worthy stills from the exhibit. // 55 Music Concourse Dr. (Golden Gate Park),

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