Paris National Museum of Natural History unveils the “Pierres Précieuses, des minéraux aux bijoux” (Gemstones, from minerals to jewels) exhibition co-curated with jeweler Van Cleef & Arpels. Till June 14, 2021, come and admire jewels made by Earth and carved by Men. Nurturing the dialogue between science and art, the exhibition brings together some 500 minerals, gemstones and objets d’art from the Museum’s collection with more than 200 jewels by Van Cleef & Arpels.

Meteorites, rocks, crystals, fossils, and more: all bore witness to the birth and evolution of our planet. Formed from cosmic matter, then bombarded by meteorites, and subject to underground movements such as continental drift, the Earth holds an immense variety of minerals. In this first part of the exhibition, emphasizing the close links between mineralogy, gemology and jewelry, Gems invites visitors to discover some 30 exceptional objects and jewelry pieces, most taken from the Museum’s collections. Spanning diverse tastes, fashions, and artistic currents, the lapidary arts powerfully illustrate the history of cultures, from their origins to the present day.

Some 36 showcases present minerals or precious metals, gems and jewelry side by side, while seven jewelry cases highlight pieces from the Maison’s collection. This exhibit sheds light on gemology as a link between science and artistic creation. On the occasion, the Grande Galerie de l’Evolution gathers over 500 pieces from the National Museum of Natural History collections. You travel 4.56 billion years back in time, when Earth was created. Walking through the exhibition is walking through the formation process of minerals. The tour shines a light on all the circumstances that led to the creation of emeralds, sapphires and other turquoises.

This event goes around a one-of-a-kind objet “Rocher aux Merveilles” – which means Rock of Marvels – created especially for this show. It consists of a stand of rough stones that holds 9 high jewelry marvels resulting in an amazing painting. We are talking about the Unicorn clip, the Chimera bracelet with the removable head, the Nature Bicolore ring, the Fairy Ostara piece – which you can wear as a clip or a pendant – the three Laurier-rose clips (each with a different center stone: blue sapphire, purple sapphire or a ruby), the Fairy and the Cascade clip, and the Saphirs en Cascade earrings.

Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, aquamarines, turquoise etc… Extracted from the depths of the earth, coveted and sought after for thousands of years, gems (precious stones worked on by human hands) have always been considered as instruments of power and objects of seduction. Furthermore, since the 18th century, they have become the subject of various scientific studies.

Through a contemporary scenography, this exhibition brings together over 500 minerals, gems and objets d’art from the Natural History Museum’s collections and more than 200 gems and jewelry creations from the House of Van Cleef & Arpels. This unprecedented link between minerals, gems and jewelry, structures the tour, immersing visitors in the history of the earth, the processes of mineral formation and the latest scientific advances in geoscience. It also allows visitors to marvel at the most beautiful creations fashioned by humans and created from natural diversity. The “Precious Stones” exhibition is accompanied by a varied program of meetings, workshops, books, conferences, screenings and more.


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