We preserve, manage and curate the UK national mineral and gem collections, a record of global mineralogical diversity and the basis for our geological research.
We ensure the collection stays as accessible and relevant as possible to both academics and the public.
Type mineral specimens
The crystals used to scientifically define a mineral are known as type specimens, and the Museum houses one of the largest and most historic type specimen collections in the world. These specimens are sacrosanct reference materials that also help re-appraise how we classify the mineral kingdom.
Re-evaluation of the Kingsbury Collection
The Arthur Kingsbury collection of UK minerals is diverse but problematic. Recent research discovered examples of erroneous claims which have subsequently crept into the scientific literature, we are systematically using the collection to correct these errors.
Science heritage: preserving X-ray diffraction photographs
The Museum holds a continuous record of X-ray film investigations undertaken in our laboratories since 1937. These films have significant legacy and heritage value and transforming them into an accessible digital archive will preserve a valuable resource for future research.
The gem collection has outstanding specificity with regards to source locations, some of which may no longer be used as a gem resource. In combination with the globally extensive mineral collection we are applying the gem collection to aspects of cultural heritage and an exploration of fundamental gem properties.
Roy Starkey (NHM, Scientific Associate)
David Green (Scientific Associate, National Museum of Wales)
Explore the Mineralogy Collections
The Mineralogy Collections at the Museum are made up of separate collections of minerals, gems, rocks, meteorites and ores.
Core labs and consulting
Our research labs are available for complex analyses of mineralogical and palaeontological samples, including ancient DNA.
Mineral sciences group
The mineral sciences group manages one of the world's most significant mineral collections.