Exhibit of the month

Sapphire in a quartz rock (4 elements with dimensions: 3.5mm x 2.3mm; 2mm x 1.5mm; 0.9mm x 0.6mm; 1.4mm x 1.5mm).
  • The museum exposition “The Mineral Collection Cabinet” contains precious and semiprecious stones, among which there is a sapphire in a quartz rock (4 elements with dimensions: 3.5mm x 2.3mm; 2mm x 1.5mm; 0.9mm x 0.6mm; 1.4mm x 1.5mm). Quartz has the shape of an irregular box. Sapphire crystals are pyramidal, with rough chip, streaky edges, glass shine, in blue color, translucent.
  • Sapphire is a corundum of jewelry value and very high strength, due to which the stone is durable and resistant to external effects. It is a colorless alumina, its formula is AI2O3. Various impurities give the color to sapphire: manganese gives a pink color, chromium a green color, iron oxide a yellow color. The most significant and famous blue color is obtained due to iron and titanium. Transparency varies from transparent colorless to opaque black.
  • Since ancient times, precious stones have been used by very rich people as a remedy. Powdered sapphire cured diseases of the eyes and skin, helped with insomnia, lowered blood pressure. The most transparent minerals were polished and inserted into gold and silver jewelry and decorative items. It was believed that wearing a stone is able to kindle the fire of creativity, awake an extraordinary emotional view, give brightness to thoughts, and bring happiness in love.
  • Currently, the collection of minerals is being recreated by studying the Radziwill inventories, which are stored in the National Historical Archives of the Republic of Belarus.

In the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the first notable expert on minerals was Marcin Mikołaj Karol Radziwiłł, 7th ordinat of Kletsk. Back in his student years, Marcin began to collect numerous minerals and fossils. The largest collection in the palace was built by Michał Kazimierz Radziwiłł Rybeńko in the 18th century. In addition to minerals, collections were replenished with samples of metal ores, rocks, salts, precious stones (opals, sapphires, emeralds, topazes, turquoise, garnets, rubies, etc.). The prince’s collection was so rich that the Jesuit Tomasz Żebrowski, the founder of the astronomical observatory at the Vilnius Academy, asked Michał to hand over part of the minerals from the Niasvizh collection to the study room in Vilnius and received a positive response. Polished and unpolished precious stones were bought, received as a gift, used to make rings, brooches, cufflinks, to decorate clothes, buttons, watches, portraits, caskets, weapons, armor, collected as a dowry, inherited. The Radziwills made periodic inventories, registers of objects and property.