By Brecken Branstrator
Azurite from Bisbee, Ariz. (Photo credit: Orasa Weldon, GIA)
Carlsbad, Calif.--The Gemological Institute of America said it has added 63 more mineral specimens of “exceptional size and quality” to its collection.

The institute’s museum acquired ornamental minerals from the Joel and Barbara Hauser Mineral Collection, many of which are from localities with restricted access or that are no longer producing.

The 63 pieces will be used as learning tools about mineral formation and lapidary artistry for both GIA students and visitors; about 50 of the 60-plus mineral specimens went on view at the museum last week.

California native Joel Hauser pursued his hobby of collecting agates, geodes, ornamental minerals and petrified wood for more than six decades, culminating in a celebrated mineral collection.

One particular trip resulted in the discovery of a deposit of agate geodes in Riverside County, Calif.’s Little Chuckwalla Mountains, which are known today as the Hauser Geode Beds.

He also was a skilled lapidary who mastered the art of contour polishing, and designed and modified saws and grinding equipment to handle the cutting and polishing of objects like large pieces of petrified wood.

“His freeform, undulating polishing style adds interest and texture while removing blemishes, without having to grind away more material than necessary,” said Terri Ottaway, GIA’s museum curator. “Joel’s expertise, guided by an artistic eye and perspective, revealed the lovely patterns, markings and colors in the minerals.”

Hauser died in 1993. His wife, Barbara, and their four sons donated the collection’s finest ornamental minerals to the GIA in his memory.

The acquisition helps the institute fulfill its mission of educating and inspiring students and the public about gems, gem minerals and jewelry, the GIA said.

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