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The Mineral and Gem Collection Database Upgrade


Specimens from the Mineral Collection
Specimens of Tiger’s Eye Quartz, Hematite, Malachite, and Agate Quartz from the collection.

The Geosciences Department announced last week that the Geosciences Gem and Mineral Collection Search Engine is once again available to scientists and the general public, now at its new address —

The search engine can also be reached through the Geosciences website in the About Us section: This announcement should come as good news to those who have relied on its services since the database was first published in the spring of 2012.  

For the past few months, the online Mineral Collection database has not been available, as the Department needed to make significant improvements to the database. The search engine was moved to a server that is both faster and more reliable than its previous home, making it an easier online experience for all those searching for minerals and gems.  The Geosciences Department is pleased to present the improved database, which is available to both researchers and the general public at no cost.

Interesting facts:


The Gem and Mineral Collection of the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University received its earliest recorded donation of mineral specimens from Dr. David Hosack who lived between 1769 and 1835.



Dr. Hosack’s mineral collection, which he brought to the United States from England in 1794, was the first mineralogical cabinet ever exhibited in the U.S.



It consists of approximately 6,000 cataloged mineral specimens and several hundred cut gemstones that were collected between the 1820s and the 1970s, many which have been photographed and are recorded in the database.



Also included are historic documents and rare specimen labels from early mineral dealers, recording the growth and development of mineral collecting and its interaction with the scientific community.


  •   The database project began in 2008, with four primary goals: reviewing all specimens in the collection; upgrading the storage and the security of the collection; photographing the most important minerals; and publishing and making the database publicly available.

The collection permanently resides at Guyot Hall and is often shared with students from local schools or presented at special events for the Princeton University community.  A full history of the collection is available on the Geoscience Mineral Collection home page.