If art is an expression of beauty, then the exquisite minerals at the Wilensky gallery are the highest form of aesthetic that nature has to offer. This fall, set in their Chelsea gallery, Wilensky will exhibit the greatest collection of emerald mineral specimens ever assembled. This breathtaking exhibition will embrace the undeniable transformative power that emeralds hold on the human imagination. “Magnificent Emeralds: Fura’s Tears” will open on Thursday, September 26th and run through Monday, December 30th, 2019.
A human obsession for over 5,000 years, emeralds have been worshiped as a talisman, cut for ornaments and jewelry, and have inspired countless fashion runway shows with their color. Over the centuries, a myriad of writers have honored their history, geology, and gemology. A touchstone for artists, and a springboard for art, emeralds are timeless and live in many expressions. This exhibition is a prelude to that metamorphosis, a celebration of the specimen as it emerges from nature.
“This exhibition is focused on natural emeralds, as found and preserved in specimen and crystal form. By bringing together many of the world’s finest known examples of natural emerald specimens, we can better understand all emerald specimens. Important emerald stones and jewelry can be found in every gem collection around the world. The same cannot be said about exceptional natural emerald specimens. We estimate that there are less than twenty-five in the world that would qualify. Of those twenty-five, half of them are here on exhibit,” says Stuart Wilensky, President of Wilensky.
The significance of having half of the world’s finest known emerald specimens all in one place cannot be overstated. This has never happened in the history of mineral collecting. Wilensky invites the viewer to experience wonder and emotionally connect to the profoundly exquisite qualities of emerald specimens.
Amongst mineral collectors, emeralds are one of the most difficult specimens to acquire. Likened to the world’s greatest works of art, each emerald on display is a masterpiece. Elements of connoisseurship confirm significance, including: provenance, color, luster, and composition. Internationally renowned for building one-of-a-kind collections for many of the world’s most influential collectors, Wilensky is uniquely able to curate and elevate an emerald show of this caliber.
Exhibition highlights include an emerald on calcite from the Muzo Mine, formerly in the James Horner collection. One of the greatest mineral collectors to have ever lived, his matrix emerald is that which all others are measured against. It has the ultimate deep rich color, with a large, thick, double terminated crystal sitting atop a complete whitish to clear calcite crystal. Finding a specimen where the emerald crystal is attached to an attractive crystallized matrix is extremely unusual. Another highlight is an emerald on calcite from the Rice Northwest Museum, also unearthed in Muzo, which displays a rare group, or spray, of emeralds. Over twenty emeralds fan out from the matrix; it is one of the most significant specimens in this style.
Gene Meieran, President of the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals, says, “It is a rewarding experience to be able to see so many of the great uncut emeralds, from so many mines and found over so many years, indeed centuries and millennia, in one place. Like a gathering of Rembrandts or Van Goghs, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Emerald, a mineral important enough to be regarded as a biblical gemstone, and yet now is used as a modern laser….wow! It is an honor and pleasure to have some of my specimens included in Wilensky’s exhibit.”
Connecting to the mythological tale of Fura and Tena, from the now extinct Muzos indigenous people of the Colombian Andes, the exhibition narrates emeralds through their creation story, where the tears of Fura’s infidelity begot the beloved green rocks. The seductive connection between nature, beauty, legend and art are explored through the mesmerizing green of the specimens.