• Hidden Gems
    Opening November 10
  • Hidden Gems
    Opening November 10
  • Hidden Gems
    Opening November 10

Discover Earth's true colors
on every floor of the Museum.

Get to know The Nat’s sparkly side when we reveal more than 100 of the best, brightest, and most spectacular selections from our gem and mineral collection. We’ll be displaying these hidden gems—many of which haven’t been on view before—on every floor of the Museum. They’ll be located right outside the elevators so each time visitors reach a new floor they’ll experience something new.

From the brilliant blue of azurite to deep greens of an emerald, gems and minerals offer some of the most eye-popping colors and forms found in nature—some of them even glow in the dark.

San Diego County is one of the best-known gem-producing regions in the world, and visitors will get to check out some of these local riches—luminous quartz, gleaming topaz, and the signature hot pink tourmalines that have brought fame to San Diego mines.

Minerals are valuable to us for different reasons—for their beauty and rarity, of course, but they also have practical uses. The roads we drive on, the buildings we live in, and the technology we hold in our hands all depend on minerals. Whether it’s the sparkle or the science that captures your imagination, the gems and minerals on display are sure to dazzle.


Hidden Gems is being created by the Museum’s in-house Exhibits team with guidance from subject matter expert Dr. Terri Ottoway, who currently serves as curator at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). The Carlsbad-based nonprofit organization is the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls and the leading source of knowledge, standards, and education in gems and jewelry.

Hidden Gems will be vertically aligned on five floors in the northwest corner of the Museum. This unique, vertical exhibit experience is included with admission and free for members.

Hidden Gems is made possible with generous support from Pamela and G. Stuart Bruder, Anne and Greg Bullard, City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, County of San Diego, The Hattie Ettinger Conservation Fund at The San Diego Foundation, The Family of Chrysa Mineo and Mark Stephenson, The Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, Richard Schwenkmeyer, and J.W. Sefton Foundation.

Thank you to our partner organizations The Gemological Institute of America, The San Diego Museum of Art, and Zagrodnik + Thomas Architects.

Learn more about gems and minerals.



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