Planet of Minerals

Australian Museum

A collection of highlights from the Australian Museum mineral collection. Step into a glittering world of colour and light in this stylishly presented mineral exhibition that features some of the finest mineral specimens in the world. Many of the minerals in this collection, which was acquired by the Museum in 1995, are considered among the best specimens ever found. The collection is world renowned for its mineralogical diversity, crystal perfection, aesthetic appeal and high Australian content.

An attractive group of lustrous, orange, diamond-shaped crystals arranged in radiating sheaves. Heulandite is in the group of minerals called 'zeolites', from Greek words meaning 'boiling stone', they froth and bubble when losing water under strong heating. Zeolites have an unusual internal structure of parallel channels which makes them useful as molecular filters.

These lustrous, vivid apple-green teardrop crystals of smithsonite up to 0.5 cm look like a collection of green bubbles. They completely cover the underlying lead carbonate mineral, cerussite.

This pineapple-shaped opal is unique to White Cliffs in New South Wales. It was formed by the replacement of one mineral by another, known as a 'pseudomorph' meaning 'false form'. This purple and blue-green opal has completely replaced crystals of a previous mineral

This handsome group of blood-red, gemmy, sharp, parallel, bladed crystals is world-class. At Broken Hill, New South Wales, rhodonite crystals occur in a red transparent form.

This specimen shows a group of well-shaped rhombohedral pearly-white calcite crystals with a liberal scattering of sugary emerald green dioptase crystals. Dioptase is an uncommon copper mineral prized for its intense green colour. It is found in only a few copper mines world-wide, but the best examples have come from Namibia.

These sharp, lustrous and transparent purple amethyst crystals form an attractive group of radiating prisms. This purple variety of quartz is the birthstone of February. It has been associated with ecclesiastical authority, but in ancient times was believe to protect the wearer from becoming intoxicated.

These lustrous sheaths of radiating, emerald-green malachite crystal fibres resemble plush velvet. The Nymagee mine in central-western NSW produced 24,800 tons of copper from 1880 to 1917.

The world's finest specimens, such as this lustrous sky-blue, transparent topaz crystal on smoky quartz, are considered the 'Rembrandts of the mineral world'. This topaz is one of the finest ever found from its Russian locality.

Smooth, rounded masses of chalcedony with dispersed sky-blue copper mineral chrysocolla, line a cavity in oxidised copper ore. Chalcedony is a micro-crystalline variety of quartz and the chrysocolla has added its own intense blue colour.

A group of brassy octahedral crystals with metallic sheen, whose outlines give a rhythmic zig-zag pattern.

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Australian Museum

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