GIA Acquires Joel and Barbara Hauser’s Mineral Collection
Azurite (Bisbee, AZ). Photo by Orasa Weldon; © GIA Laguna Iris Agate (Mexico). Photo by Orasa Weldon; © GIA GIA’s museum has acquired 63 ornamental minerals of exceptional size and quality, made possible through a generous donation by the family of Joel and Barbara Hauser. Many of the pieces are from localities with restricted access or that are no longer producing. These will serve as prime learning tools for students and visitors to GIA about mineral formation and lapidary artistry. Nearly 50 of these minerals went on view at the institute’s Carlsbad museum on November 9th.
For more than 60 years, native Californian Joel Hauser ardently pursued his hobby of collecting agates, geodes, ornamental minerals and petrified wood. His decades of devotion culminated in an impressive and celebrated mineral collection. On one trip in pursuit of mineral marvels, he unearthed a deposit of agate geodes in Riverside County’s Little Chuckawalla Mountains, known today as the Hauser Geode Beds.
Hauser was also a skilled lapidary, mastering the art of contour polishing. “His freeform, undulating polishing Variscite (Utah). Photo by Orasa Weldon; © GIA style adds interest and texture while removing blemishes, without having to grind away more material than necessary. Joel’s expertise, guided by an artistic eye and perspective, revealed the lovely patterns, markings and colours in the minerals,” says Terri Ottaway, GIA’s museum curator. Hauser also designed and modified saws and grinding equipment that could handle the cutting and polishing of even large pieces of petrified wood.
His wife Barbara and their four sons have donated the collection’s finest ornamental minerals to GIA in his memory. The significant acquisition helps the institute fulfil its mission to educate and inspire students and the public about gems, gem minerals and jewellery.