Glenbow Museum's mineral collection offers a colourful glimpse into the depth and diversity found in the mineral world. This is one of the most comprehensive mineral collections in North America and one of the largest in Canada.
Only when the right conditions of temperature and pressure are present can minerals grow into flowering structures where crystalline shapes are readily apparent. The collection holds a wide variety of crystal shapes, sizes, and colours, including particularly spectacular quartz and calcite specimens.
Gemstones are minerals or rocks that have been cut and polished for use in jewellery. Only 70 of the more than 3,800 known minerals are considered gemstones. Glenbow Museum has a wide variety of these, both in cut and uncut forms, including tourmaline, topaz, diamonds, amethyst, citrine, opal and varieties of corundum (sapphires and rubies).
Glenbow has a fine selection of naturally occurring native elements (minerals containing only one kind of atom) with an emphasis on metallic and semi-metallic elements, but the collection also includes others such as sulphur. Specimens of the quality seen here are rarely found, considering the small amount of gold extracted (half an ounce) per ton mined.
Many minerals only show their true colours when they are put under ultraviolet (UV) lights. Not all minerals are fluorescent. Often a mineral that cannot be easily identified any other way can be identified by the way it fluoresces.
The mineral collection has many interesting facets to it. It also includes products made from minerals such as precious and ornamental stone carvings made from malachite, lapis lazuli, carnelian, agate, crocidolite, rhodonite, turquoise, jade, and fluorite.
If you already know which area of the collections you would like to search, select the database from the drop-down menu below. To find out which areas of the collection are searchable online and how to search the collections, click here.