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 The Minerology and Lithology Museum 


Address: Via La Pira, 4
This museum too has as its basis part of the Medici collection. Ferdinando II encouraged the Danish Niels Stensen to add his vast collection of minerals to the already existing Medici collection. Both the Medici and the Lorraine enlarged this collection from being purely of aesthetic pleasure to a group to be studied, compared and classified.
Nowadays there are 325,000 mineral samples in the collection, which can be divided into five main sections; the "General Collection" whose finest piece is a topaz of 151 kilos, 755,000 carats. There are various noble metals and jewels, gold and platinum nuggets weighing up to 1,300 grammes and many diamonds besides an exceptional collection of about 3,000 Brazilian samples including beryls, tormelines and amethists of great value for their shape and size. The "Italian Regional Collection" may appear inferior in its number of samples but nonetheless has great scientific value and includes among its various pieces the so-called "5,000 elbani" (various minerals from the Island of Elba) some of which are extremely rare on account of their colour and formation.
There is also a section of meteorites from various locations, some of the landing dates are known, and the lithological collection made up of numerous examples classified under subdivisions of the rocks.
The last section is made up of stones which have been worked, but this is of greater historical and aesthetic interest than minerological. All the pieces are from the Medici collections and are documented in old inventories some of which mention the master engravers called from Milan by name to work in the Grand Ducal workshops; Milan was famous for its stone-working. Among these objects some are extremely precious, as in the case of the enormous quartz boat or the snuff-boxes of malachite or azurite, little vases in jasper, jade statues and many stones cut to reveal their differing colours.


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