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Smithsonian Gems

It is also known for its historic pieces, many of which were donated by Marjorie Merriweather Post. These include the Marie Antoinette earrings, the Blue Heart diamond, the Marie Louise diadem, and the Maximilian emerald. This beautifully illustrated talk by the curator-in-charge, Jeffrey E. Post, will explore the rich, fascinating stories behind some of the famous gems and jewels in the National Collection.

Event Timeline

5:30-6:30 p.m.: Self-guided touring of the mansion and Spectacular   
6-6:30 p.m.: Members-only wine-and-cheese reception. Join today!  
6:30-7:30 p.m.: Lecture  
7:30 p.m.: Book signing. Smithsonian Gems is available in the museum shop.

About the Speaker

Dr. Jeffrey Edward Post, a native of Wisconsin, received bachelor of ccience degrees in geology and chemistry from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville, and his Ph.D. in chemistry, with a specialty in geochemistry, from Arizona State University.  Prior to joining the Department of Mineral Sciences at the Smithsonian Institution in 1984, he was a postdoctoral research fellow for three years in the Department of Geological Sciences at Harvard University. He is currently chairman of the Department of Mineral Sciences, and since 1991 has served as curator of the U.S. National Gem and Mineral Collection. Post served as the lead curator for the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals, which opened in 1997.

His areas of research interest include mineralogy, gemology, geochemistry, crystallography, and electron microscopy.  He has published more than ninety scientific articles in these fields.  He is the author of The National Gem Collection.

About the Spectacular Lecture Series

Join us and explore centuries of appreciation of gems and jewelry in this fascinating four-part series. Learn about how they captivated diverse cultures through history and continue to enthrall contemporary audiences. Gain insights of what makes a stone great, revel in the glamour of jewelry design in the 1930s and 40s, and immerse yourself in the Merriweather Post collection, arguably one of the most impressive jewelry ensembles of the 20th century.

Spectacular Gems and Jewelry from the Merriweather Post Collection was conceived of and organized by Hillwood’s chief curator and director of collections, Liana Paredes, who also wrote the publication of the same name. Liana passed away at her home on March 16, 2017. 

Thursday, October 5: Spectacular: The Merriweather Post Collection of Gems and Jewelry by Kate Markert

Thursday, October 12: Smithsonian Gems by Jeffrey Post

Thursday, October 19: Hollywood Glamour: Jewelry from the Silver Screen by Emily Stohrer

Thursday, October 26: Contemporary Interest in Gems and Jewelry, a conversation with Aja Raden and Kate Markert