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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


‘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.