Que tesouros pode um cofre guardar? Pedras preciosas, metais, jóias e meteoritos podem estar num cofre? E é exatamente um tesouro inestimável que você vai conhecer agora no Museu de História Natural de Londres.
Discover the stories behind some of nature’s most rare, unique and valuable treasures in the Museum’s permanent gallery. The Vault contains a dazzling collection of the finest gems, crystals, metals and meteorites from all around the world. Enjoy some of the highlights in our slideshow.
The Vault is located at the far end of the Minerals gallery in our Green Zone on the mezzanine gallery of the Central Hall.
From 25 February 2011 you can see the 110.3-carat Cora Sun-Drop, the world’s largest-known vivid yellow pear-shape diamond. It is on loan to us for a limited time from leading diamond manufacturer, Cora International, who crafted the original rough diamond. The Cora Sun-Drop was mined in Africa. The very small percentage of nitrogen in the carbon structure of this diamond is responsible for the vibrant yellow colour.
Large diamonds (over 100 carats) with exceptional colours are historically significant as so few exist, so this is a rare addition to The Vault’s gem collection.
The Koh-i-Noor diamond, which means ‘Mountain of Light’ in Persian, was once the world’s largest diamond (the size of a hen’s egg).
The East India Company acquired it for Queen Victoria in 1849 and the stone was displayed prominently at the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, London. But it was criticised for its apparent lack of sparkle.The diamond was re-cut the following year under Prince Albert’s orders. Reduced in weight by two-fifths, to 105 carats, the new version was more brilliant. We have both on display. They are replicas of the real Koh-i-Noor which is in the Tower of London, where it now forms part of the Crown Jewels.
© Alan Bronstein and Harry Rodman/Aurora Gems, New York. Photograph by Robert Weldon
The Aurora Pyramid of Hope is a world-class collection of 295 naturally coloured diamonds. Only one in 10,000 gem-quality diamonds is coloured. The colour comes from tiny amounts of elements other than carbon or from defects in the diamond structure. This private collection took 25 years to bring together.
© © Alan Bronstein and Harry Rodman/Aurora Gems, New York.
Photograph by Robert Weldon
The Latrobe nugget is named in honour of Charles Joseph Latrobe, the Governor of the State of Victoria, Australia. He was shown the unusually large nugget on a visit to the McIvor gold mine where it was discovered in 1869. It is small compared with others, but the Latrobe nugget is one of the largest and finest groups of cubic gold crystals in the world. Only a handful like this have been found.
The Nakhla meteorite is an extremely rare Martian meteorite, one of less than 70 known in the world. People saw it fall to Earth in Egypt in 1911. Incredible specimens like this one are extremely valuable to scientists as they can reveal a lot about the mysterious red planet, Mars. Clay minerals found in this meteorite prove that water once existed on Mars – and water is essential for a planet to sustain life.
© Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees
The Devonshire Emerald has 1,383.93 carats and is one of the biggest and most famous uncut emeralds in the world. It originates from the mines of Muzo in Colombia. Emperor Dom Pedro the First of Brazil gave the emerald to the 6th Duke of Devonshire in 1831. A small piece of the original limestone it grew in can still be seen at the base.
Known as the purple sapphire, the Heron-Allen amethyst was looted during the Indian mutiny in 1855 and brought to Britain. Everyone who owned the amethyst since that time suffered disaster and misfortune. According to Edward Heron-Allen, owner of the stone from 1890, it was ‘cursed and stained with blood’. After discovering its sinister history he gave it to his bank with instructions for it not to be opened until three years after his death.
The stone was donated to us by Heron-Allen’s daughter, with a letter he wrote warning anyone against handling it.
|Monday to Sunday||10:00 – 17:50|
The Museum is open every day except 24-26 December. Last admission is at 17:30.
Natural History Museum
London SW7 5BD, UK.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5000