The mineralogical collection is one of the most complete in Spain, and holds some 25.000 specimens.
Created from the Manuel Martorell collections and the specimens from the Universal Exposition of 1888, it has continued to grow with the incorporation of a number of collections, of more or less significance, including those of Lluís Marià Vidal, Baltasar Serradell and the Real Acadèmia de Ciències de Barcelona (Barcelona’s Royal Academy of Sciences).
The last sizeable contribution, the Josep Cervelló Bach collection containing some 3,000 specimens, was acquired in 1979 and considerably increased the value of the Museum’s resources with what are currently some of its most representaive specimens.
The past few years have seen the addition of the Bagué-Serrano collection of gemstones from the Iberian peninsula, and the Gavilán systematic mineralogy collection, with, more recently (October 2014) the Masoliver collection of micromounts..
The micromounts collection-laboratory has become increasingly significant, both in terms of number of specimens and of systematic and geographical representation.
The general collection is classified according to the Nickel-Strunz systematic (2002), while for the micromounts collection the latter is used in conjunction with the Weiss systematic, which is far more dynamic and constantly updated.
- Collection fund
- Sources of acquisitions
The general collection, containing around 16,000 specimens, includes those in reserve and those on display and aims to showcase mineralogy, both for exhibition purposes (systematic, crystallographic, geographical, thematic, etc.) and educational purposes. This collection includes the Museum’s most representative and best known specimens.
This consists of around 2,400 registered items, to which will be added the approximately 7,000 from the Masoliver donation. Micromounts are the basis for working on mineral geodiversity as one can observe a large number of species from different deposits and localities, and using a wide variety of systematics for each deposit; as a result, a small space can hold a great deal of mineralogical information.
In 1979, Barcelona City Council acquired the mineralogical collection of Josep Cervelló Bach. Cervelló, a manufacturer in Barcelona, had collected over 3,000 mineralogical specimens, many of them of high quality. Having taken years to create the collection, he did not want it to be broken up when he died, and so he offered it to the Museum, with which he had strong ties (he was appointed Honorary Curator). The Museum accepted it.
Many of the minerals in the Cervelló collection come from classic deposits in the Iberian Peninsula, both in Catalonia (cobalt calcite from Peramea, galena from Bellmunt) and the rest of the country (scheelite from Estepona, various pyromorphites from El Horcajo, etc.). However, there are also specimens from the most characteristic deposits around the world: amazonite from Colorado, silver and copper native to Michigan, native California gold, diamonds from Kimberley, rodochrosites from Capillitas (Argentina) and Colorado, native Sicilian sulphur, etc.
Up until the first half of the 20th century most collections were miscellaneous combinations of elements from various different areas of the natural sciences. Noteworthy collections dating back to that period are those of Lluís Marià Vidal and the Reial Academia (Royal Academy).
- The Vidal collection, registered in 1922, and mainly given over to palaeontology, includes a number of mineralogical specimens which, while not particularly spectacular, are of exceptional documentary interest, especially the samples from deposits in Catalonia. In addition, some of the minerals, besides having documentary value, are aesthetically extraordinary and rank among the Museum’s most characteristic exhibits.
- The collection of the Reial Academia de Ciencias i Arts de Barcelona (Barcelona’s Royal Academy of Science and Art) was registered later, in 1930. While less representative of classic Spanish deposits, it nevertheless contains many samples which have helped to make the Museum’s mineral collection widely known.
- Other important collections that enhanced the Museum’s resources in its early stages were those of Baltasar Serradell, the Col·legi Antiga and Joan Rosals.
In the last few years the Museum has further enhanced its resources with the following collections:
- Bagué-Serrano Collection (gemstones from the Iberian Peninsula), consisting of cut, cabochon or faceted gemstones from classic mineralogical localities throughout the Peninsula.
- Gavilán Collection, consisting of minerals from modern localities, with an uncommonly high content of sulphides and sulphosalts.
- The educational collection of Lynn Margulis, well known ecologist and developer of the Gaia theory, was recently accessioned.
- Masoliver micromounts collection, mentioned earlier, added in October 2014.
At present, donations made by collaborators and private patrons are the biggest source of specimens. This type of contribution enhances, above all, the Museum’s documentary and heritage resources of Catalan and Spanish mineralogy.