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Gems in Armagh Robinson Library

Gems in Armagh Robinson Library image

Monday - Friday: 10.00am - 1.00pm, 2pm - 4pm Armagh Robinson Library Runs until 30 June 2017

In ancient Greece and Rome, gems or gemstones were used as seals for signatures, identification, lucky charms and ornaments. Carved with official or personal symbols, gemstones were also valued as works of art, because the carvings required great skill and attention to detail.

In the eighteenth century, the Scottish sculptor and engraver, James Tassie, developed a way of making impressions of gemstones in a hard-setting coloured paste.  Archbishop Richard Robinson, the Library’s founder, was a keen collector of Tassie’s impressions.  He left his collection of almost 4,000 to the Library.  A selection of them will be on display until the end of June.  The exhibition was researched by Library staff members Rachel Toner and Thirza Mulder and includes books on gems, their history and use, through the ages.

At the launch of the recent exhibition, the Keeper of the Library, the Very Revd Gregory Dunstan, said, “Our gems are among the Library’s rarest treasures.  To find another complete set, you would have to go to London, Baltimore (USA) or St Petersburg.  Armagh really has something very special here.  As our volunteers join us in launching this exhibition, so we are now actively seeking more volunteers to help us care for and show off the treasures of Armagh Robinson Library.”

Further examples from the gem collection are on permanent display in the Library’s second building at No 5 Vicars’ Hill which is also well worth a visit.

Cost: Free

Contact: Carol Conlin Telephone Number: 02837 523142