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!
Angelina the humanitarian
I’m familiar with Angelina’s work as an actress. I’m less familiar with her role at the United Nations. It turns outs she was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador back in 2001. She has continued her work with them ever since, with a focus on refugees and refugee children in particular. After working with the UN for over a decade, she was appointed as Special Envoy in 2012. I’m not really sure what that means, but on this website they call it an “expanded role.” It’s clear to me that she very much cares for children, and wants to help them in whatever way she can.
That leads us back to the necklace. It’s actually part of a larger collection she developed in collaboration with Robert Procop, an American jewelry designer. Together, they created the Style of Jolie collection. And Angelia is donating all the profits to the Education Partnership for Children in Conflict. They’re a group that builds schools in conflict areas all over the world. A worthy cause for sure!
Other pieces from the Style of Jolie collection
Robert said the collection is all about Angelina – with her favorite colors and her love of clean lines. Bold, classic shapes with monochromatic stones.
“Robert and I are honored to have this great institution feature one of our jeweled creations. As the Smithsonian has educated so many of us, this jewel is a symbol of our efforts to help educate underprivileged children in conflict areas of the world.” – Angelina Jolie
Love for Citrine
I feel like citrine is an under-appreciated gemstone, so I’m happy to see it at the Smithsonian, and in such a beautiful necklace.
“We are thrilled to receive this important piece for the Smithsonian. It is the first piece of citrine jewelry in the collection. The fact that it was personally designed by Angelina Jolie Pitt and Robert Procop makes it all the more significant.” – Curator Jeffrey Post
Angelina Jolie with designer Robert Procop
Citrine is really just quartz, which is incredibly common and found all over the world. Quartz comes in a variety of colors. This kind of yellowish orange gets its color from tiny amounts of iron in the gemstone. The name comes from the French word “citron,” meaning “lemon.” Citrine is also one of the birthstones for the month of November. It’s a lovely stone.
What do you think? Are you in love with the necklace like me? Should we go together and visit the museum?
This post has been edited and updated since it was originally published on December 10, 2015.