The ROM Adds 26 Rare Apatite Gems to Its Mineralogy Collection

One of the few minerals that form in bio-microsystems, such large and transparent crystals are few and far between

The ROM Mineralogy section recently acquired a suite of 26 apatite gems totalling 341 carats. Apatite is a little-known gemstone that isn’t found in a retail environment. Apatite actually refers to a group of phosphate minerals found in many areas of the world and is one of the few minerals that form in bio-microsystems (for example, in our bones and teeth). This mineral is distributed in all rock types—igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic—but is usually just small disseminated grains or cryptocrystalline fragments. Large, well-formed, and transparent crystals are rare, making this suite of apatites unique.

Rare and large gemstones such as the ROM’s apatites are hard to source and are typically purchased by private collectors before museums see the specimens. Acquisitions such as this enhance the stature of the ROM and the department, and demonstrate the active and vital nature of all of the Earth Sciences collections.