Wertz Gallery: Gems & Jewelry 


Wertz Gallery: Gems & Jewelry is a 2,000-square-foot addition to Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems dedicated to gems, the crystals from which they come, and jewelry comprised of these precious stones. Wertz Gallery is named in honor of Ronald W. Wertz, longtime president of the Hillman Foundation. Wertz Gallery opened in 2007 as part of a year-long expansion and renovation of Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems, which first opened in 1980. Hillman Hall exhibits minerals in the manner of sculpture, showing them for their beauty as well as discussing their physical properties and industrial uses. Extensive displays include amber, birthstones, and lapidary art, and major exhibitions are also hosted.

The original Hillman Hall did display gems and jewelry but often on a temporary basis. The expanded Wertz Gallery gives the collection its own space and many new gems and pieces of jewelry that have never been on exhibit are on display. Approximately 500 gems, crystals, jewelry and other pieces of gem art are on display in the permanent collection of Wertz Gallery. In addition, Wertz Gallery also hosts special exhibitions from collectors around the world.

Current Exhibition

Small Wonders: The World of Cryptocrystalline Quartz

Quartz, var. agate: Specimen CM1933

Cryptocrystalline quartz is a type of mineral in which the individual quartz crystals that are so small that they are invisible to the naked eye.

The quartz has unlimited variations in color and form, which are created when the microscopic crystals grow alongside each other in different patterns and configurations.

This diversity has made cryptocrystalline quartz valuable to human culture in everything from jewelry to arrowheads to metalworking.

Previous Exhibitions

Out of This World! Jewelry in the Space Age

June 27, 2015–January 3, 2016
Out of This World! Jewelry in the Space Age brings together scientific fact and pop culture in a showcase of wearable and decorative arts related to outer space, space travel, the space age, and the powerful influence these topics have had on human civilization.

Beginning with jewelry and artifacts memorializing the appearance of Halley’s Comet in 1835, Out of this World! travels forward through time to explore nearly 200 objects from landmark moments in space-related history. Pieces in the exhibition include ephemera, jewelry, and objets d’art inspired by events that captured our imagination, such as the 1865 publication of Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, the 1957 Sputnik launch that kicked off the space race of the Cold War, and milestone NASA missions.

Time Machines: Watches from the H.J. Heinz Collection

January 31–June 1
Showcasing more than 20 of ketchup magnate H. J. Heinz’s most spectacular time pieces, Time Machines: Watches from the H.J. Heinz Collection, turns back the hands of time with such beauties as a gold mechanical “repeating watch” with figures that strike the hour, an example of clock-making technology that dates to the 17th century. Other rarities include a watch once owned by British naval hero Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson and a music box watch adorned with a feathered bird.

Time Machines is a repeat presentation of the extremely popular exhibition that appeared in Wertz Gallery in the summer of 2008.

Member Show of the Gem Artists of North America

September 20, 2014–January 5, 2015
Founded in 1995, Gem Artists of North America (GANA) is an association of artists and professionals of the gemstone art industry. GANA counts among its members some of the world’s foremost lapidary artists, with works appearing in museums, exhibitions, and private collections worldwide. The juried member show highlights artworks inspired by the beauty of the precious materials themselves.

Michael Dyber: Master of Optical Illusion

May 31–August 31, 2014
Michael Dyber is widely acknowledged as one of the foremost lapidary artists in the world today. He has won 23 national and international awards for his unique gem carvings. Using his own trademarked cutting techniques, Dyber creates stunning artworks that appear to bend light while interacting with each gemstone’s natural colors. Michael Dyber: Master of Optical Illusion is the artist’s first solo show at a major museum.

Lapidary Art: Carvings by Slava Tulupov

Gemstones, jewelry, and sculptures created by artists are called lapidary art. Lapidary artists are classically trained artists devoted to “the art of the gem.” Wertz Gallery is highlighting two award-winning carvings, Dragon and Polar Bear, by world-renowned lapidary artist Slava Tulupov. Click here to read excerpts of an article about Slava Tulupov from Professional Jeweler magazine.

Garden of Light: Works by Paula Crevoshay 

April 13–August 11, 2013
Wertz Gallery: Gems and Jewelry, in Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems Crevoshay

Featuring nearly 70 fine art jewelry pieces by award-winning designer Paula Crevoshay, Garden of Light showcases designs inspired by nature and created from precious raw materials, including gold, opal, sapphire, and incredibly rare conch pearls. From a magnificent orchid pendant to a tiny spider pin, these one-of-a-kind pieces celebrate the beauty and interdependencies of the animal, plant, and mineral kingdoms.

Garden of Light: Works by Paula Crevoshay was presented by:

Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection 

December 13, 2011–March 4, 2012

This world-famous exhibition and the accompanying book reveal an intriguing story of American history and foreign policy as told through more than 200 of Secretary Albright’s pins. In 1994, Saddam Hussein’s government-controlled press referred to then-U.S. Ambassador to the UN Albright as an “unparalleled serpent.” She then wore a golden snake brooch to her next meeting on Iraq, beginning a career-long practice of using jewelry to convey and reinforce diplomatic messages. According to Albright, “jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal.” Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection demonstrates the power of jewelry to communicate through a style and language all its own. This exhibition has been organized by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. Generous support for this exhibition was provided by Bren Simon and for the exhibition catalogue by St. John Knits. Sponsored by First Niagara. Additional sponsorship provided by Women's Initiative@Eckert Siemens and Louis Anthony Jewelers.

Pittsburgh Adorned: Classic to Contemporary 

June 12–October 17, 2010 Pittsburgh_Adorned

More than 80 exquisite pieces from local private collections and Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History celebrate the many passions—including love, status, and even politics—that jewelry evokes. The exhibition explores design trends of the past 200 years and features works by Alexander Calder, Barry Kieselstein-Cord (bracelet photo at right), and David Webb, as well as contemporary local designers ROY and Ronald McNeish. The exhibition is presented by Orr’s Jewelers.

The Materials section of the exhibition includes historic and contemporary examples crafted from the three materials most associated with Pittsburgh—glass, steel, and aluminum—as well as from the gold and gems traditionally associated with jewelry. The Designers portion of Pittsburgh Adorned presents the big names associated with jewelry, including artists better known for their work in other fields. The Style and Meaning section explores major trends of the past 200 years and the depth of symbolism that jewelry embodies—whether overtly or by the circumstance of its creation or acquisition.

Luxe Life: Masterpieces of American Jewelry 

September 28, 2007–January 6, 2008

The history of American jewelry reflects the history of America itself. Key pieces featured in the exhibition range from the nature-inspired and patriotic jewelry of the late 19th century, to fashion and Hollywood influenced work of the mid 20th century to the most important American jewelry designers working today. The exhibition includes a spectacular Alexander Calder necklace and tiara as well as a Mauboussin bracelet that was once owned by Mae West. In all, the exhibit will be feature almost 100 pieces of stunning and historic jewelry.

For More Info

Head, Section of Minerals: Marc Wilson; Collections Assistant: Debra Wilson 412.622.3391, WilsonM@carnegiemnh.org.