A Gem of a Place

Gemstones have fascinated me with their colors, carvings and exotic stories attached to their origins.  The Hope Diamond, jade from Imperial China or the crown jewels in the Tower of London have a provenance of mayhem, mystery; and yet people still strive to possess them.  The danger of owning them only seems to add to their allure.

I felt like polishing up my views on shiny stone.  So I visited to a real gem of a place the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art in Elmhurst, Illinois.  The museum was created by Joseph Lizzadro.  He was an Italian immigrant who came to America and made it big in business.

It’s a smaller, specialized museum that doesn’t get the high traffic of the more famous ones.  I was able to linger at the dioramas, exhibits of beryls, turquoise, jade, gems.  I marveled at the Japanese netsukes that are miniature sculptures of animals and people or Indian elephant adorned in silver and stones.

I didn’t feel rushed, because there was no long line of people behind me.  With all that said, I wanted to see gems, semi-precious stones, rocks and see the art and antiquities made from them.

Since lapidary is the art of cutting, polishing gem, stone and rocks, I knew I was at the right place.  Before I get to the amazing solid gold castle on stones or antique carved jade, I’d like to mention that it’s loaded with gem stones, rocks and minerals displayed in some pretty unique ways.

By the way, if you are a guy planning to purchase a ring for your fiance.  It may not be a good idea to take her here first.  When she sees gems that are the size of thumb, it will be hard to top it.  If you’re a woman who likes jewels, gems and gold; you should go here first with him.

There was art, antiquities from Qing Dynasty of China, Middle East; nature dioramas of carved stones, etc.  It’s located in Wilder Park one of four corners with each corner holding a museum.  I visited to the park for this museum, I ended up walking around the park to see the small conservatory and outdoor sculpture.  It was a nice surprise.

Due to reflection from the glass cases, I was only able to photograph a few of the exhibits.  Sorry if they seem a little blurry.

This is a diorama with tropical fish carved from agates in a multi-colored coral sea.

agate fish swimming in coral sea

The ship is carved from jade, notice the ropes leading to the mast.  It dates from Qing Dynasty China (1644 to 1911), which was the last dynasty to rule China.  If you’re interested in learning more about the Qing, you may want to rent the movie about this dynasty called, The Last Emperor.

jade ship

The ivory musician with his hand turning the crank handle of a music box.  Both the musician and box are inlaid with emeralds, rubies and sapphire stones.

ivory musician encrusted with gem stones

A silver short sword from the collection of Middle Eastern art, antiquities.  It has coral, malachite and turquoise in sheath and handle.

short sword encrusted with coral and turquoise

One of the exhibits with big impact is a castle of 18 carat gold on an island of stones.  The castle a memorial to “children whose lives ended with dreams unfulfilled,” is a beautiful castle and tribute.

Rock on.


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