The State “Samotsvety” (Gems) museum is one of the brightest and most interesting mineralogical museums of Russia. It is famous for its imposing collection of jewel, ornamental and facing stones, ore minerals, paleontological findings, faceted gems and various art objects. State “Samotsvety” museum is a departmental museum of Federal Subsurface Management Agency of the Ministry of Natural Resources of Russian Federation.
The museum funds are scientifically arranged by regions and groups of minerals, they contain the primary geological information and can be used to study mineralogy, gemology, mineral resources and qualitative characteristics of ornamental stone and collection material. They can also be used for creating expositions, exhibitions, scientific work and publications. The museum display provides a glimpse of variety and width of Russian Federation natural resources geography.
At the present time collection funds of the museum numbers more than 12500 specimens, among them one can find mineral rocks, fossils from more than 400 deposits – from Russia and other countries. Also there exhibited meteorites, gem stones and works of art, made of gems. Many showpieces are unique. The museum funds are constantly supplemented by new objects, expositions are updated.
The museum funds of the Federal State Body “Samotsvety" (Gems) museum is a part of museum funds of Russian Federation. It is a collection of objects of natural geological history, material and spiritual culture of high scientific, historical and artistic importance.
The museum collection consists of the objects of basic fund, scientific auxiliary funds, rotating pool and raw materials funds.
The departments of basic fund are:
1. Minerals and ornamental stones, meteorites;
2. Jobs of arts, made of natural stones, fossils, faceted inserts of precious and semi-precious stones;
3. Paleontological specimens (fauna and flora);
4. Decorative and facing stones.
Museum can be proud of its unique collection of big gemstone specimens and imposing collection of polilitic gemstones statues by famous artist V.V. Konovalenko and modern works of art, created by Moscow and Ural artists. The museum takes part in exhibitions in Russia and abroad, carries on educating and scientific work and maintain contacts with the leading museums of Russia. Museum offers Interesting thematic excursions. Also the geological hobby goup for senior school-children is organized in the museum. In working days it is possible to visit the souvenir stand, where one can buy collection minerals and stone handworks. The working hours of museum: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday — from 11 a.m. till 17 p.m, Saturday — from 11 a.m. till 16.p.m.
At the present time the museum display inculdes representative specimens of all sorts of gemstone raw materials, decorative facing stones, ore and non-metallic minerals, fossils, stone art objects, faceted inserts of jewel and ornamental stones.
All the display is divided into 5 show rooms and a gallery. In the first room there is an exposition of highly decorative natural hand specimens of ore and non-metallic minerlas, inimitable specimens of gemstone raw materials (jewel and ornamental stones) from the deposites of all regions of Russia and former USSR republic. The gallery display gets the visitors acquainted with conditions of minerals formation and genetic types of deposits. In the next two rooms there are imposing collections of stone masterpieces, polilitical sculptures of authorship (including works of Konovaleno V.V.), mosaics and collection of faceted jewel and ornamental stones. In two displays there are achievments of Russian scientists in the area of gemsrone synthesis. In the rooms downstairs there's an exposition of facing and decorative stones. In the paleontological room the following collections are demonstrated: the remnants of anicent animal bodies, modern oceans fauna and collection of impact rocks of the unique Popigai astro problem.
Room 1 “Natural resources of mineralogical raw materials”
“Genetic mineral collection” gallery
Room 2 “Jewel and ornamental stones and artworks”
Room 3 “Jewel stones, mosaic and gemstones sculpture”, “Synthetic gems”
Room 4 “Decorative and facing stones”.
Room 5 “Paleontological collection”, "Popigai astro problem”
Room 6 "Geological group classroom"
Room7 "Museum shop"
Room 8 "Gemmological room"
Main topics of lectures and njurs
- Auquaintance with gems and thier properties. Resources of gemstones in Russia and neighbouring countries. Legends about gemstones and their magic properties. Guides will tell visitors about gemstones and their classification, based on market-value and areas of application stones. Gems properties include crystal habitus, mechanical and optical properties. Astrological influence of mascots and amulets can be explained primarily by the psychotherapeutic effect of color and natural harmony of gems. The museum employees created “The map of gemstone raw materials deposits of Russia and neighboring countries” and use it during excursions.
- Treasures of the soil.Mineral deposits. The most important geological-economical types of gemstones deposits. Visitors will learn about different classifications of minerals, get aquainted with concept of ore minerals and non-metallic minerals deposits and their provinces. They will also get the idea of genetic types of these deposits. The genetic display in the gallery will help them to do it. More attention will be paid to geological-economic types of jewel and ornamental stones deposits. Decorative collection stones present a separate group and form separate deposits very rarely.
- The history of stone-cutting development. Stone-cutting industry in Russia, proccessing of gemstones.The era of wide usage of gems in Russia began when gem deopsits were found in Urals and Siberia after the reforms of Peter I and St. Petersburg construction. Russian jewelry and stone-cutting artworks became famous all over the world in XIX - XX thanks to masterpieces of Faberge artists. Unique works of Konovalenko continued and developed old traditions. The excursion includes information anout methods of stone proccessing. Guides will tell about charachteristics of different ways of gems cutting, depending on their optical properties.This topic is very popular due to beautiful decoration of showcases in the rooms 2 and 3 – there one can find unique faceted stones and jewell works of art.
- Palaeontology, faunal stratigraphy and geochronology. History of origin and evolution of life on Earth. Geological disasters. Popigai and other astro problems.This excursion is held in paleontological room, which is arranged in very impressive way. Not long ago the display was siginifically enlarged as the Paleontological institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences had presented a lot of exhibits and teaching aids to the museum. These objects were found during field works in the previous years. There are about 300 exhibits belonging to 80 paleontological types, including the skeleton of pareiasaurs and the skeleton of mammot, which is not completely assemled yet.During the excursion visitors will learn about paleontology – science, which studies flora and fauna of past ages using findings of fossils, their prints and remnants of ancient animals life activity. The separate branch of archeology is a faunal stratigraphy – it deals with defining the relative age of sedimentary rocks using the ancient organisms findings.The visitors will also learn about geochronology, which is the science defining absolute age of rocks and geological events using radiological methods. According to the existing hypothesis the scientists explain the relations between the abiogenesis and cosmic factors, including falling of big cosmic bodies – asteroids. The Popigai astro problem is one of the biggest evidences of such events in the world. In this room there is also a collection of diamantiferous impact rocks, geological scheme of Popigai astro problem, which is also one of the biggest technical diamond deposits in the world.
- Facing and decorative stones. The most important geological and economical types of deposits, resources. The manufacturing procedure.The room for this excursion was arranged not long ago. Here one can find facing tiles made of different kinds of rocks of Russian deposits and also the deposits of the former USSR republics and other countries: Italy, Greece, India. Besides, decorative facing stones and gems of Central region and Moscow region of Russia are very well presented there. During the excursion visitors get aquainted with characteristics of these rocks, manufacturing procedure, peculiarities of the deposits of different regions of Russia and neighbouring countries.
- General excursion – acquaintance with the museum. It is the most popular excursion among those who visit the museum for the first time. Special excursions of two levels are intended for schoolchildren, they were prepared according to the school curriculum (5-7 and 8-11 forms). During the excursions participants will get information about the most widespread minerals and rocks, main geological processes, mineral deposits. Working with schoolchildren we found out, that the information about geology and mineralogy they get in the museum help to understand such school subjects as natural science, geography, chemistry. Students who study geology and related sciences often visit the museum. For them the museum collection is an additions source of knowledge.