San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionExhibits
ALL THAT GLITTERS: The Splendor and Science of Gems and Minerals
Read what visitors are saying!

May 15, 2010–April 8, 2012

Did you know that every glittering ruby, sapphire, diamond, and opal has a history as old as the Earth itself? Discover how the same Earth processes that build landscapes produce dazzling gemstones and precious metals—even right here in San Diego County, one of the most famous gem-producing regions in the world. 

Witness a stunning selection of spectacular natural mineral crystals, exquisite jewelry, and works of art. See objects on display for the first time ever. Discover “first finds” in the world, found right here in California: benitoite, gold, kunzite and morganite. View stunning objects on loan from private collectors and major U.S. institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Harvard University Mineralogical Museum, Newark Museum and National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution.



of gem and mineral finds in California
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behind crystal formations and their composition
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from the raw mineral to a finely cut gem
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Exhibit Highlights


of San Diego Natural History Museum's new gem and mineral exhibition
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What Visitors Are Saying:

  1. I recently had a dear friend visiting from North Carolina, and as gem and jewelry lovers, three of us made a trip to the Museum specifically to view All That Glitters. From photos on your website, we were expecting a nice exhibit; however, we were overwhelmed by the beauty and variety of gems on display. We also learned a great deal about the history of mining in San Diego county and gemstones in general.

    In short, the exhibit was spectacular in every way one might hope!
    Cindy Dupray
  2. Little girls were literally twirling around and saying how beautiful everything is, old men were gaping in awe and women were "shopping" while drooling over the cases.

    The scope of your selections of both stones and finished jewelry is staggering.
    Sheryl G. Shatz, Certified Gemologist, SCC
    Author, "What's It Made Of?" A Jewelry Materials Identification Guide
  3. The exhibit is wonderful. I love the layout, the overall organization and the sensational pieces. Being a chemist, I love the periodic table exhibit end enjoyed interacting with it...I've been recommending the exhibit to everyone!
    Mary Stambaugh
  4. My husband and I usually bring our friend's 13-year-old grandson, Chris, to the Museum when he is here visiting from Oregon. We really enjoyed our recent visit. All That Glitters is extraordinary! I stayed there for a long time and even let them go ahead to the second floor so I could read and really look at everything.
    Annaliese Cassarino
  5. … It is a wonderful exhibit and I wanted to say my thanks for putting it together. I cut gemstones for a hobby and constantly study gems. Outside of the Smithsonian, this is one of the finest exhibits I have seen, and I have seen a lot.
    Dan Williamson
  6. …All I can say is WOW! I have never before found an exhibit that I couldn't find fault with. The explanations were great. Short and clear to the general public.
    Cal and Kerith
  7. My wife and I very much enjoyed the special preview of ALL THAT GLITTERS… We hope to come back to the exhibit every three to four months to see any changes and just to look at the exhibits again. We find that the more we look, the more we see and learn. We shall be letting our friends know about the exhibit, so they can visit San Diego and your fine museum.
    Larry and Carol Greenfield
  8.     As we discussed the exhibition, they noted every aspect, including the items selected, the cabinetry, the way the displays were arranged, the risers, the lighting, and all the elegant touches of the exhibit components, so it was clear that they had paid very close attention to many details as they walked through. They were unanimously impressed. They said it was the best exhibition of its kind that they had seen.
    Van Pelts, Nicolai Medvedev & Museum staff discussing the the exhibition.
  9. I would like to give a compliment to whoever designed and built the lighting for the displays. I noted the two color LEDs used which combined with the overhead spotlight gave a wonderful accurate presentation of the colors of the materials. This is very difficult to do.
    Dan Williamson
  10. Will Larson, Bill Larson’s son, told me this is hands-down the best gem and mineral exhibition he has ever seen, and he has seen a lot! He was going through the exhibition with his guests very excitedly showing them every case and pieces that he and his family have in the exhibition. He loved the lighting and said the white background was a great choice to show off the gems.
    Conversation with Will Larson related by Museum staff
  11. …it was just so beautiful it was overwhelming for me. They were tears of joy… like those of a proud parent. Seeing the specimens of the Maple Lode right in there with the “Big Boys” was really great!
    Jeannie Gregory and her husband John, former owners of the Maple Lode Mine