TREASURE SHARED: SOMEWHERE IN THE RAINBOW

Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum
A rainbow signaling something extraordinary, bountiful treasure, and mysterious benefactors sharing their riches with the world; This might sound like the stuff of myths and fairy tales, but the truth of Somewhere in the Rainbow (SITR) is every bit as magical. This transcendent collection of gemstones and jewelry, assembled over more than a decade, flaunts storied gems, geological marvels, superb specimens, and one-of-a-kind jewelry by contemporary designers at the top of their craft. What’s more, this treasure trove is now on display at the University of Arizona’s new Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum.

TREASURE SHARED:
SOMEWHERE IN THE RAINBOW

Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum
A rainbow signaling something extraordinary, bountiful treasure, and mysterious benefactors sharing their riches with the world; This might sound like the stuff of myths and fairy tales, but the truth of Somewhere in the Rainbow (SITR) is every bit as magical. This transcendent collection of gemstones and jewelry, assembled over more than a decade, flaunts storied gems, geological marvels, superb specimens, and one-of-a-kind jewelry by contemporary designers at the top of their craft. What’s more, this treasure trove is now on display at the University of Arizona’s new Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum.
Somewhere in the Rainbow Tucson Booth

About Somewhere in the Rainbow

In 2008, a Phoenix-area gem dealer made an unforgettable sale of three phenomenal gemstones: two large alexandrite, noted for their color-changing properties, and a 15-carat tanzanite. This marked the beginning of the collection, which has grown to include hundreds of gem specimens and unique finished jewelry works by modern designers. The pair of gem enthusiasts behind SITR are a husband and wife from Phoenix, Arizona who prefer to keep their identities private. What they aren’t keeping private is the SITR collection itself. With the help of collection manager, Shelly Sergent, the collection’s owners seek to share these jewels with the public, advancing gemstone education and enthusiasm. When asked about the collection, Sergent expressed, “SITR has a love of the lapidary arts and how it relates to gemstones personalities, and likewise how the designer interprets the gem for a finished piece.” A trusted partner since the beginning, Sergent connects with gem dealers and designers to continually expand the collection’s holdings and also works to share its exquisite cache of gems with the world through exhibitions in museums and trade fairs.
Somewhere in the Rainbow Tucson Booth
In 2008, a Phoenix-area gem dealer made an unforgettable sale of three phenomenal gemstones: two large alexandrite, noted for their color-changing properties, and a 15-carat tanzanite. This marked the beginning of the collection, which has grown to include hundreds of gem specimens and unique finished jewelry works by modern designers. The pair of gem enthusiasts behind SITR are a husband and wife from Phoenix, Arizona who prefer to keep their identities private. What they aren’t keeping private is the SITR collection itself. With the help of collection manager, Shelly Sergent, the collection’s owners seek to share these jewels with the public, advancing gemstone education and enthusiasm. When asked about the collection, Sergent expressed, “SITR has a love of the lapidary arts and how it relates to gemstones personalities, and likewise how the designer interprets the gem for a finished piece.” A trusted partner since the beginning, Sergent connects with gem dealers and designers to continually expand the collection’s holdings and also works to share its exquisite cache of gems with the world through exhibitions in museums and trade fairs.
“It’s an honor to design and create for the SITR collection. They encourage creativity with extraordinary gemstones, a designer’s dream come true!” – Adam Neeley

COLLECTION HIGHLIGHTS

A Magic Carpet

In the 1980’s Parisian jeweler Cristofol created this truly regal objet d’Art for the royal family. Known as “the Royal Tapestry”, it showcases 26,649 individual gemstones, including rubies, emeralds, and diamonds, as well as yellow, pink, and blue sapphires, in 18 karat gold prong settings. Five master jewelers spent a year and a half of hard work to complete this astonishing masterpiece, which measures 42 inches x 24 inches and weighs more than 40 pounds.
A MAGIC CARPET
A MAGIC CARPET
In the 1980’s Parisian jeweler Cristofol created this truly regal objet d’Art for the royal family. Known as “the Royal Tapestry”, it showcases 26,649 individual gemstones, including rubies, emeralds, and diamonds, as well as yellow, pink, and blue sapphires, in 18 karat gold prong settings. Five master jewelers spent a year and a half of hard work to complete this astonishing masterpiece, which measures 42 inches x 24 inches and weighs more than 40 pounds.
Oracle Necklace with Cuprian Tourmaline

Oracle Cuprian Tourmaline Necklace

In 2015, SITR invited Adam to design for the collection for the first time and provided him with a magnificent 17.83 carat cuprian tourmaline. This fabulous gem proved to be an enticing muse. In order to highlight the tourmaline’s vivid green color, the necklace includes a collar of green titanium encircled with undulating curves and curls of white gold set sparkling with more than 1,000 pavé-set diamonds.
Oracle Cuprian Tourmaline Necklace
In 2015, SITR invited Adam to design for the collection for the first time and provided him with a magnificent 17.83 carat cuprian tourmaline. This fabulous gem proved to be an enticing muse. In order to highlight the tourmaline’s vivid green color, the necklace includes a collar of green titanium encircled with undulating curves and curls of white gold set sparkling with more than 1,000 pavé-set diamonds.

The Scorpian King

The man who first discovered tsavorite garnet, Scottish geologist Campbell R. Bridges, retained a magnificent 20.2 carat tsavorite specimen of radiant green color in his private collection. Bridges named the gemstone after its mine of origin, the Scorpion mine in Voi, Kenya. After Bridges’ untimely death in 2009, “the Scorpion King” passed to his son, Bruce, who later sold it to SITR.

The Triplets

In 2008 and 2009, SITR viewed and then acquired astonishing tri-color tourmaline, also known as “Elbaite,” on three separate occasions. To the delight of all, the three gems were clearly a matching set when viewed together. It seems the gems were cut from a single crystal source, discovered in Mozambique, but sold off separately, only to be reunited by SITR. Today, the trio is a part of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
THE SCORPIAN KING
The man who first discovered tsavorite garnet, Scottish geologist Campbell R. Bridges, retained a magnificent 20.2 carat tsavorite specimen of radiant green color in his private collection. Bridges named the gemstone after its mine of origin, the Scorpion mine in Voi, Kenya. After Bridges’ untimely death in 2009, “the Scorpion King” passed to his son, Bruce, who later sold it to SITR.
THE TRIPLETS
In 2008 and 2009, SITR viewed and then acquired astonishing tri-color tourmaline, also known as “Elbaite,” on three separate occasions. To the delight of all, the three gems were clearly a matching set when viewed together. It seems the gems were cut from a single crystal source, discovered in Mozambique, but sold off separately, only to be reunited by SITR. Today, the trio is a part of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Dark Knight Opal Ring

Honored with two AGTA Spectrum Awards during the 2020 competition, the Dark Knight ring is a celebration of color and Adam’s second contribution to the SITR collection. This stately gents ring features an enchanting 9.81 carat black opal set in 18 karat gold. A mosaic of custom-cut sapphire and tsavorite garnet baguettes set in platinum and a sprinkling of diamonds complete this handsome and enigmatic ring.
Dark Knight Opal Ring
Dark Knight Opal Ring
Honored with two AGTA Spectrum Awards during the 2020 competition, the Dark Knight ring is a celebration of color and Adam’s second contribution to the SITR collection. This stately gents ring features an enchanting 9.81 carat black opal set in 18 karat gold. A mosaic of custom-cut sapphire and tsavorite garnet baguettes set in platinum and a sprinkling of diamonds complete this handsome and enigmatic ring.
“The Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum is a world class museum and true delight to visit. So often beautiful personal collections rarely see the light of day and can go life times appreciated by only a select few. This is a fabulous opportunity for the public to experience SITR’s inspiring collection and other gem & mineral treasures.” -Adam Neeley
Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum

Visiting the Collection

Keeping with their mission to enrich public gem education and interest, SITR has loaned the Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum a significant number of gemstones and jewelry works, which are on display and accessible to the public with regular museum entry.

The museum reopened in 2021 in the historic Pima County Courthouse, a beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival-style structure. A part of the National Registry of Historical Places, the new museum might be the perfect setting in which to view the University of Arizona’s gem and mineral riches, especially given the collection’s noted focus on minerals from the Southwest and Mexico.

We encourage anyone in the area to see SITR’s stirring treasures first hand. Please note that pieces on display may rotate. If you’re interested in seeing a particular piece, please check with museum staff about what’s currently on display Please visit the museum’s website to answer questions or plan your visit.

Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum

Visiting the Collection

Keeping with their mission to enrich public gem education and interest, SITR has loaned the Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum a significant number of gemstones and jewelry works, which are on display and accessible to the public with regular museum entry.

The museum reopened in 2021 in the historic Pima County Courthouse, a beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival-style structure. A part of the National Registry of Historical Places, the new museum might be the perfect setting in which to view the University of Arizona’s gem and mineral riches, especially given the collection’s noted focus on minerals from the Southwest and Mexico.

We encourage anyone in the area to see SITR’s stirring treasures first hand. Please note that pieces on display may rotate. If you’re interested in seeing a particular piece, please check with museum staff about what’s currently on display Please visit the museum’s website to answer questions or plan your visit.

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From his Laguna Beach studio, designer and goldsmith Adam Neeley pushes the boundaries of modern jewelry design. Born a gem-lover and educated at the prestigious Gemological Institute of America and Le Art Orafe, Adam has spent his life mastering the craft and art form of jewelry making and design. As a member of the American Jewelry Design Council, Adam is honored to share his expertise and passion with the world. His award-winning jewelry is celebrated by jewelry collectors, industry authorities, including MJSA and AGTA, and the Smithsonian Institution. We invite you to learn more by visiting our About Adam and Welcome pages.

References & Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/18/fashion/a-rainbow-of-rare- gems.html

https://gemandmineralmuseum.arizona.edu/content/welcome-university-arizona-alfie-norville-gem-mineral-museum-please-bear-us-we-slowly

https://www.nationaljeweler.com/articles/10559-a-tapestry-set-with-26k-gemstones-is-making-its-us-debut?fbclid=IwAR0kM4IYCYm7eT4g6HbLcPv5jdEM40n6ZceVYHzSKU2n-eYaTLyV2EPCsvs