One of my favorite ways to look at jewelry is in museums. You can browse to your heart’s content, price is irrelevant, and there’s usually a good story to be had. Washington D.C. is host to some of the best museums in the country. And most of them are free because they’re part of the Smithsonian. You can’t beat that!
The Smithsonian is not just one museum, but an entire collection. This includes the National Zoo, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Postal Museum, the National Air and Space Museum, and the National Museum of Natural History.
Gem lovers go here!
So if you want see some of the most fabulous gemstones, you head to the National Museum of Natural History. Did you know it’s the most visited natural history museum in the world? It is! That’s because, on the second floor, they have the National Gem Collection. It has some amazing gemstones, including the famous Hope Diamond.
The famous Hope Diamond
Although everyone comes to see the Hope Diamond, the museum has gemstones by thousands – 10,000, if you’re counting! They have so many gorgeous and sparkly specimens! Like the Hooker Emerald, the Logan Sapphire, the Mackay emerald necklace (168 carats!!!), the Carmen Lúcia ruby ring, and the Napoleon Necklace and Diadem. Go and visit! You won’t be disappointed. I remember spending hours there. Hours. It was heavenly.
Mackay emerald necklace
Thank you Angelina!
And now there’s even more beautiful jewelry to behold at the Smithsonian, thanks to the actress Angelina Jolie! That’s right, in 2015 Angelina donated an absolutely extraordinary necklace. Because Angelina would never have something that’s not amazing, the necklace is, of course, stunning! There are 65 citrines in total – 64 cushion-cut citrines, each progressively larger than the one before, and the main stone, a pear-shaped citrine of over 177 carats. All the gems are bezel set in 18 karat gold. It’s phenomenal. Can I just say wow???!!!
And best of all? It’s on display permanently!