A "Tiger eye" of superlatives

Mineralogical Museum of the University of Bonn exhibits huge gemstone

Detail of tiger eye. © Renate Schumacher / Uni Bonn
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The largest "Tiger Eye" exhibited in a German museum can now be seen in the Mineralogical Museum of Bonn University in the Poppelsdorf Palace. The gem, a slice about two meters long and weighing 150 kilograms, comes from the Hamersley Range in Western Australia, probably the best tiger eye deposit ever found.

A pin in a haystack

In 2005, Australians Glenn Archer, David Vaughan and Richard Williamsen of Australian Outback Mining came across the tiger's eye deposit in the 2.5 billion year old Marra Mamba Formation. The site looks more like a pin in a haystack - in other words, the vastness of Western Australia. Two blocks of over five tonnes were left as intact as possible at that time.

Using state-of-the-art techniques, Vaughan then cut the plate and polished it to first-class quality - a masterpiece because the cut must be made exactly parallel to the fibers so that the stone does not appear dull.

Precious gemstone

The big tiger's eye was last exhibited at the world's largest mineral exchange in Tucson, Arizona, and a few weeks ago at the Munich Mineral Days. The head of the Bonn Mineralogical Museum, Renate Schumacher, then managed to convince Vaughan that the tiger's eye in Poppelsdorf Castle could find an adequate home.

The huge gem is still a loan. Schumacher hopes, however, that the tiger's eye can be visited permanently in Poppelsdorf Castle. The value of the find is enormous. This compares to a smaller record auctioned at auction in Texas in June 2008 - for a staggering $ 215, 000. display

Facts and figures about the Bonn Museum

The Mineralogical Museum of the University of Bonn is open every Wednesday and Friday from 3 pm to 5 pm and on Sundays (except public holidays) from 10 am to 5 pm.

Admission: from 17 years € 2.50, concessions € 1.50.


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(idw - University Bonn, 25.11.2008 - DLO)