Crystal gazing

Takes an exhibition like ‘Riches of the Earth: The Beauty of Minerals’ to remind me what a gem of a collection is housed at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution in Queen Square.

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This is a ‘free-bee’ and you are welcome – during open hours – to pop in off the street and admire the beauty of minerals through the astounding forms and vibrant colours of more than a hundred carefully selected specimens.

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The marvellous colours and forms of these natural wonders delight the viewer: glacial blue-green beryl, rainbow-hued opal, fiery red heulandite, lurid yellow sulphur, along with hexagonal prisms of aragonite, eccentrically fused cubes of fluorite and needle-like crystals of Goethite.

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One group of specimens demonstrate their curious ability to glow in strange colours under UV light, while others have been chosen for their ornate patterns exposed in cross section.

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The Institution’s collection of more than 2300 mineral specimens was built up during the 18th and 19th centuries, through the donations of many collectors.

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It includes beautiful rarities from many different countries, and this is a unique opportunity to see them on display in Bath.

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‘Riches of the Earth: the Beauty of Minerals’ is open  Monday to Saturday 10:00-16.00, until 30th September, and is a free exhibition.

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