On one fall day back in 2006 during a visit to the place where I was born and raised in the city of Toronto, I took my wife Lilia to show her the Royal Ontario Museum. My intention at the time was to visit my beloved "rocks" that I grew up with and displayed in the ROM. I was also very eager to see what new gem and minerals I might find there.

What was new? Bad news for me, for it appears that a new addition (see top left photo) was under construction. As a result the mineral rooms were not on display, but understandably so. Needless to say I was very, very disappointed. We elected to come back another time, or rather another year.

Fast forward 3 years...our visit to Toronto this early October of 2009 brings great news. The beautiful new Michael Lee-Chin Crystal addition, is now completed (pictured top right). The minerals are back on display, and much, much more! Elation at last!

I have always been proud of growing up, and being from Toronto. Too me it was, still is, a very advanced and model city. I was aware of this as a youngster, when a newer city hall replaced the old...with a fabulous new design -- way ahead of its time for the early 60's. Then over the years came Ontario Place, CN Tower, Toronto Skydome, and much, much more. Now, Lee-Chin's Crystal design addition to the ROM keeps in line with the creative spirit in Toronto architecture, and its infusion (see top center photo) where old meets new...gracefully!

Since we were in Toronto for a family wedding, the visit to ROM was a crash course lasting only several hours. However, we did manage to cover some ground, and take some photos to share a glimpse with you here. Please keep in mind that the Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth Treasures hosts approximately 2,300 minerals, rocks and meteorites, and is one of the finest collections found in North America! Due to an unexpected retinal tear in my left eye this past August, I was not able to attend the Denver Show 2009 this September: to see; to buy; and to report on. So I am hoping you will enjoy this tour of our ROM 2009 visit in its place.

On the day of our visit, there was quite a hustle and bustle. Several groups of enthusiastic school children paraded about, and one small boy in particular caught our attention. As he pointed at the beautiful mineral displays, he kept repeating over, and over to his classmates: "Those look yummy...those look yummy!" I was thinking that his statement was so simple, yet so eloquent. I couldn't agree more!

Although photography was allowed in the exhibits featured here, and all of the photographs were taken by myself, I would still like to officially state here: All photographs made possible and courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum -- "ROM". I would like to personally thank the ROM for an incredible job done, not only recently, but over the years as well! The purposes of displaying all the information listed below is to promote education and welfare for all those interested in, and wanting to learn more in this wonderful world of Gems & Minerals.

Please go and visit The ROM if you get a chance. It is indeed a "world class" museum, and you will not be disappointed. Now please enjoy viewing my report here featuring some highlights of our brief visit. You comments are always welcome. I sincerely thank you for your time!

Very best to you - Guy Russo

Please click on all the photos above & below to enlarge

Pictured above left is the entrance sign leading the way to the "Canadian Mining Hall of Fame", as well as the new "Gem & Gold" room where a select portion of Michael Scott's amazing gem beauties lay. Note the glowing hallway behind the sign which is part of the original museum which opened back in 1914. In the center picture, yours truly poses in front of a Bolivian Amethyst beauty before heading inside. You can see the vast mineral displays (pictured in the right photo), just waiting to be explored. There were quite a few visitors there, tourists and students alike, during our weekday visit.


Above are four amazing specimens. The two on the left are in excess of 24" high: Featured left is a Gypsum and Quartz var: Amethyst from Rio Grande do Sol, Brazil; to the right of it is a large Calcite from the Elmwood Mine, Tennessee, USA; followed by a large cabinet specimen (approximately 12"-15" across from my vantage point), from the coveted Grossular Garnets on matrix from the Jeffrey Mine, Asbestos, Quebec, Canada; top far right my most precious gem of them all, my lovely wife Lilia who is posing in front of a large, magnificent natural sheet of Copper arriving from the White Pine Mine, Ontonagon Co., Michigan, USA.


Various colorful Apatite specimens deriving from several world locales. Pictured from left to right they come from: Maine, USA; Pakistan; and Brazil.


Always one of my favorites are the Sulphur on Aragonite matrix from Agrigento Province, Sicily, Italy. This large aesthetic beauty is over a foot wide.


Yet another favorite which I always seek out in every museum that I visit, is of course Rhodochrosite from the Sweet Home Mine, Alma, Colorado. A very nice large plate, with many large deep red colored rhombs.


Pictured left, please note the touch screen computer monitors placed on the floor along side the mineral display. As you can see in the far right photograph, all the minerals on display are just a finger touch away from information. A very unique system which is the first of its kind I have ever seen in a major museum.

After a whirlwind tour lasting only several hours, and before reluctantly departing the ROM, I intently searched both high and low to find the gorgeous "HEULANDITE & MORDENITE" specimen shown above center. It's from the Rat's Nest Claim, Challis, Idaho. Acquired by ROM at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show 2005 it was personally mined by, I am proud to say, a good friend and colleague of mine John Cornish. Many of you may already know Mr. Cornish, but if you have not met him yet, I am telling you right now: Make the time to stop by and meet John at one of the major mineral shows in the USA. His business is called: "JOHN CORNISH MINERALS"

Needless to say, you will be greeted by a big smile, a room full of enthusiasm, and great vibes! John is one great human being that is both truly passionate, and very knowledgeable about gems and minerals. He regularly mines several claims that he owns in the beautiful state of Idaho, and attends the major shows throughout the United States, such as the Tucson & Denver Gem and Mineral Shows. Bringing with him for sale are many beautiful specimens from around the world, in addition to the many minerals that he has personally mined like the beauty featured here.


The very ornate older wing and previous Queens Park entrance of ROM is pictured above left. It brings back great memories of my solo visits to the museum as a youngster in the early 1960's. I would enter the through those doors, and make a left into the Museum of Mineralogy pictured right. Although the minerals are now housed right above on the second floor, you can still see the original inscriptions "Museum of Mineralogy" above the doors. In those early days, directly opposite of these doors used to be a gift shop where I would buy some really nice quality thumbnail specimens for only 5 pennies!


Above left is a second floor view of the superb mosaic work of the old wing lobby area. Pictured center is where the new "Crystal" addition fuses with the old, and my parting shot from the ground level looking up to the ceiling with a beautiful Bolivian Amethyst cluster in the foreground as shown to the right.


Displayed for the first time in Canada, and as the first installation in the ROM's new "Gallery of Gems & Gold room, we were quite excited and very fortunate to view this outstanding array of gems! I photographed a portion, of yet a selected portion of Michael Scott's personal collection. Approximately 200 superb, breathtaking pieces of precious gems are featured in this exhibition.

Mr. Scott of California was the first CEO of Apple, Inc. He has discriminately been selecting and collecting beauties like the ones pictured here for over 25 years. Just when you think you have seen it all, this collection is mind boggling. Truly rivals gems one would find in the hands of royalty!

If you are soon planning a trip anywhere near the vicinity of the ROM in Toronto, Ontario, I highly recommend, and it will most certainly be worth you while to stop in and see this once-in-a-lifetime, eye-popping display. Please note: The exhibit "Light & Stone": Gems from the collection of Michael Scott, is only on display through November 15, 2009.

Please click on all the photos below to enlarge

Presented in a mind boggling sculpture, pictured left is the one-of-a-kind "Queen of Kilimanjaro". Set in a 18 carat White Gold tiara. The serpentine band uniformly displays 913 diamonds, and 803 garnets totaling 242 carats. The centerpiece is reportedly the world's largest cut Tanzanite. Despite the enormous quantities of cut gem combined with gold, it weighs just 250 grams, or about 9 ounces! To me (in my opinion), this is truly the "star" of the show; pictured in the center is a colorfully, creatively designed elegant bola tie fit for royalty; a very exquisite Red Beryl crystal on matrix (pictured right), sits in the companion of an equally beautifully cut Red Beryl gemstone.

Alluring Colombian emeralds shown left in both natural, and faceted state; Beautiful orange Tanzania Spessartine Garnets pictured center; an extraordinary example of modern design this gorgeous orchid flower sapphire brooch shown at the right is created with Spinels, Diamonds, and Demantoid Garnets set in Titanium. The sapphires total 33 carats from the locales of Montana, USA; Myanmar (Burma); Basel, Switzerland.

Beautifully assorted colored faceted gems shown center are book ended to the left with the 64 carat naturally royal blue "Sapphire Cobra" from Sri Lanka. This mesmerizing Sapphire is heavily guarded by a cobra made from Gold; featured to the right is a fabulous example of a Pala Blue Cap Tourmaline embraced with Quartz. From the Queen Mine, Pala, California, USA, this enormous Tourmaline weighs in at 22,700 carats!


Elegantly propped on displays to the left are six Beryls, Tourmalines, Spodumenes, ranging from 113 to 333 carats. From: Afghanistan, Brazil, and Mozambique; bicolor faceted Tourmalines (shown right), each uniquely beautiful, seem to compete for attention: Mozambique and Madagascar, West Africa, and Minas Gerais, Brazil.


On the left is an unbelievable Ramona Orange Spessartine Garnet Necklace from Ramona, California. This stellar piece is laced with 165 carats, plus 11 carats diamonds; center photo shows more beautifully faceted orange Garnets gems; pictured to the right is a pristine 10 carat "pigeon's blood" Red Ruby in an elegant antique setting. This of course is the ring my lovely wife Lilia wants me to get for her!

All photographs & original web page design by Guy Russo © 2009 Personal thanks to & courtesy of ROM (Royal Museum of Ontario)
The exhibition "Light & Stone" : Gems from the collection of Michael Scott, is generously supported by Michael Scott

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