It probably will never be known when man first decided to gather and admire certain stones that showed unusual colors or texture or hardness. Certainly it was long before recorded history. Whenever it was our species has never lost the fascination and value that exists for gem stones.
All of which brings us to the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana which is currently featuring a most unique exhibition entitled "Gems: Colors of Light and Stone". We were fortunate to attend the Press Preview of this new exhibition which will be at the Bowers for a full year. It is the Michael Scott Collection and Mr. Scott was on hand to explain the types of gem stones as well as the artists and carvers who created the stunning works on display. Michael Scott is the retired president of Apple Computer and has assembled one of the world's most outstanding collection of gem stones. Besides the created works of master German craftsmen there is a collection of colored stones including tourmaline, sapphire and garnet with their complete color range.
Dazzling pieces on display include a 480 carat golden sapphire, a 10 carat Burmese ruby, a 60 caret blue sapphire and a 250 carat tanzanite known as the "Queen of Kilmanjaro". New gemstones are still being discovered and two discovered, only in the 1960s, are on exhibition. . They were discovered near the Kenya-Tanzania border close to Mt. Kilimanjaro.
The gem stones on exhibition litterally span the world since their sources range from Brazil, Africa, Asia and surprisingly San Diego County in areas around Pala and Ramona.
The Michael Scott Collection comes to Bowers Museum from the Shanghai Museum where it was viewed by almost one million visitors. Michael Scott explained to the assembled media that gem stones come in many colors with impurities often creating a dazzling color spectrum. As examples chromium allows for the rich red color in rubies and the same mineral with tiny bits of iron will make the stone blue, or if oxidized yellow.
Other exhibitions still to be enjoyed at the Bowers include the "Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt".
Bowers Museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. It is located at 2002 North Main street in Santa Ana. Call 714 567-3600 or on the web at www.bowers.org.
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