[FINISHED] “Gems” Exhibition

19 May - 22 August 2021
The exhibition is now over.

Dive into the world of precious stones! Discover an exceptional selection of minerals, gems and objets d’art, alongside jewelry creations by Van Cleef & Arpels.

The Exhibition

In collaboration with Van Cleef & Arpels, the “Precious Stones” exhibition immerses visitors in several fields which are closely connected and yet rarely brought together: minerology, gemology and the art of jewelry making.

Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, aquamarines, turquoise etc... Extracted from the depths of the earth, coveted and sought after for thousands of years, gems (precious stones worked on by human hands) have always been considered as instruments of power and objects of seduction. Furthermore, since the 18th century, they have become the subject of various scientific studies.

Through a contemporary scenography, this exhibition brings together over 500 minerals, gems and objets d'art from the Natural History Museum’s collections and more than 200 gems and jewelry creations from the House of Van Cleef & Arpels. This unprecedented link between minerals, gems and jewelry, structures the tour, immersing visitors in the history of the earth, the processes of mineral formation and the latest scientific advances in geoscience. It also allows visitors to marvel at the most beautiful creations fashioned by humans and created from natural diversity.

The "Precious Stones" exhibition is accompanied by a varied program of meetings, workshops, books, conferences, screenings and more.

Collerette Nazli 1939

© Van Cleef & Arpels SA - P.Gries

Topaze bleue gemme et quartz Morion

© MNHN - F. Farges

Collerette émeraudes et diamants 1929

© Van Cleef & Arpels SA - P.Gries

Tanzanite taillée

© MNHN - F. Farges

Clip Pivoine 1937

© Van Cleef & Arpels SA - P.Gries
Diamant bleu orné d'une étoile dorée.

Recréation exacte du grand diamant bleu de Louis XIV

© MNHN - F. Farges

Clip Oiseau et pendentif Walska 1971

© Van Cleef & Arpels SA - P.Gries

Opale de feu dans une rhyolite

© MINES Paris Tech - E. Gaillou

Clip Bouquet de bleuets 1938

© Van Cleef & Arpels SA - P.Gries

The Commission

The Exhibition Commission: Didier Julien-Laferrière (MNHN), François Farges (MNHN), Lise Macdonald (Van Cleef & Arpels)

The Scientific Commission: François Farges (MNHN), Emilie Bérard (Van Cleef & Arpels)

Scenography: Patrick Jouin et Sanjit Manku (Jouin Manku agency)

Audio guide app

Exposition Pierres précieuses - Web-application mobile, audioguide de visite

Exposition Pierres précieuses - Web-application mobile, audioguide de visite

© MNHN - Van Cleef & Arpels

A Gems audio guide app is available to discover 18 iconic pieces on display in Gems through two-minute explanations composed under the guidance of the curators. The app is available on visitors’ mobile devices free of charge in French, English and Chinese via a dedicated Wi- Fi network, as well as outside the exhibition to help museum-goers prepare their visit.

Discover the app on your mobile


Van Cleef & Arpels

An exhibition created and presented by the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (the National Museum of Natural History) in partnership with Van Cleef & Arpels.

Media partners
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