Cairngorm Gems Exhibition - All season

Special Exhibition for the year of Innovation, Architecture and Design

The mountains of the Cairngorms National Park were once mined for semi-precious stones to create jewellery and artefacts  Hear the stories and see the world’s largest Cairngorm stone.

The  exhibition tells the story of the use of cairngorm quartz in Scottish jewellery and artefacts, starting in the 1700s and reaching a peak following Queen Victoria’s arrival on Deeside in 1848.  Queen Victoria’s love of Scottish jewellery and Highland Dress led to an explosion of interest in these gemstones and Scottish pebble jewellery is considered highly collectable today.

The famous Invercauld cairngorm, collected in 1788 on Beinn a’ Bhuird weighs 22.3 kg (about 49 lbs)

Exhibition curator, Roy Starkey demonstrates just how big!

The exhibition features three of the largest surviving crystals of smoky quartz from the Cairngorms Mountains, none normally on display to the public.  The second crystal belongs to Aberdeen jewellers, Jamieson and Carry.  Drilled to take a clock, it is normally kept in a storeroom.  The third crystal, belonging to Aberdeen Art Galleries and Museums, won a medal as finest specimen of its kind at the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace in 1851 and is only rarely displayed.