Massive crystals highlight Peabody’s gem and mineral gallery opening Oct. 23

A 2,000-pound Namibian quartz crystal will greet visitors to David Friend Hall, the state-of-the-art gem and mineral gallery opening on Sunday, Oct. 23, at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

The massive amber-colored crystal, which visitors will be allowed to touch, is one of more than 150 of the world’s premier mineral and gem specimens that will be on display, drawn from the some of the most significant private collections in the United States.

Funded by a gift from Carbonite founder and executive chair David Friend ’69, the hall will use custom lighting to emphasize each specimen’s unique, and often other worldly, features. The gallery’s opening celebrates the Peabody’s 150th anniversary.

Highlights from the inaugural installation will include:

  • a 30 million-year-old sandstone concretion from Fontainebleau, France, that has never been displayed in public;
  • a 4,000-pound Chinese lime-green fluorite with quartz measuring 5 feet by 4 feet;
  • a stibnite cluster of blade-like metallic blue-gray crystals; and
  • The Cullinan Blue Diamond Necklace, crafted from one of the largest blue diamonds ever discovered, and Ivory Camels encrusted with diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires from the Smithsonian Institution’s collection.

“We are incredibly grateful for the tremendous generosity of David Friend,” said David Skelly, director of the Yale Peabody Museum. “As the Peabody celebrates its 150th anniversary, this project symbolizes our dedication to showcasing groundbreaking discoveries in science in new and imaginative ways. Our hope is that the reimagined space of the David Friend Hall serves as the gateway for our visitors to be inspired by the museum’s extensive collections.”

Designed by Christopher Williams Architects in collaboration with the Peabody, the gallery will also serve as a 126-seat multipurpose programming space for the more than 300 public programs held annually. Admission to the museum during the Oct 22-23 anniversary weekend is free thanks to a generous gift from the Lucille and Arnold J. Alderman Fund.

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Mike Cummings: michael.cummings@yale.edu, 203-432-9548