Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hindu Kush mineral exhibit at UA museum

The UA Mineral Museum's new exhibit, "Dangerous Beauty: Minerals of the Hindu Kush" is running through the end of June. The museum announcement states:

"Hindu Kush" is the name of the mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan, and is where the rough gems - ranging from emeralds and rubies to peridot - and rare minerals in the "Dangerous Beauty" exhibit come from. The beauty of the specimens is undeniable, and yet the risks that artisanal miners take to extract specimens by hand from the high altitude mines, and decades of violent political turmoil, make mining and transporting gems and minerals dangerous work.

The exhibit boasts some of the finest aquamarine crystals ever discovered in these perilous mountains, and includes both one of the largest Afghan morganite specimens ever found, and the largest known morganite crystal ever recovered from Pakistan - just three weeks ago. Other outstanding specimens include a large, pink tourmaline in matrix, kunzite crystals half a meter long, and crisp, clear quartz crystals.

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