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Legendary Diamonds


Rock & Mineral Identification

Geologist Sara Kurth presents an introduction to rocks and minerals. Learn to identify minerals through basic hands-on identification including observation skills and hardness tests, great for teachers and rockhounds. This program qualifies for Boy & Girl Scout merit badges. Scout groups require adult supervision. Teachers can earn Professional Development credit for this class. For more information regarding P.D. credit contact the Museum Educator at

Ages 8 yrs. to Adult - 75 minutes – 10:30 a.m.
Saturday Classes: October 17, November 7, December 12
Fee: $5.00 per person, Museum mebers $3.00
Reservations Required: (630) 833-1616.


“Legendary Docent Tours”

Join Museum docent, Sakina Bharani on a guided tour of the “Legendary Diamonds” exhibit. Learn more about the historical figures, facts and mysteries that surround these famous diamonds. Short videos on the creation of the historical figures and faceting are included. Groups of 8 or more can schedule a personal tour by calling the Museum for reservations.

Youth to Adult - 60 minutes - Tour Dates & Times:
Sunday, October 18 at 2 p.m., Saturday December 19 at 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.
Regular Museum Admission, Museum Members Free Reservations Recommended (630) 833-1616.

October 24
Jewelry Craft: A Demonstration on Unique Ways to Create Settings for Stones

Visiting Artist Karen Davé, a 20 year instructor for the West Suburban Lapidary Club, will show processes used to create your own settings for cut or rough stone including wire wrap and silversmithing techniques.

Demonstration – Ages 12 to Adult – 2 p.m.
Regular Museum Admission, Museum Members Free
Reservations Recommended (630) 833-1616.


November 7
Chicago Chronicles of Chinese Art

Elinor Pearlstein, Associate Curator of Chinese Art at The Art Institute of Chicago, presents the legacy of collecting Chinese art in the Chicago area. The lecture focuses on the interacting lives of Chicago’s early 20th century collectors and the formation of the Art Institute’s collection. A Q&A and discussion on the Sonnenschein jade collection at the Art Institute will take place after the lecture.

Lecture – Adult - 2 p.m. – 60 minutes Admission
$10.00 per person, Museum Members Free
Reservations Recommended (630) 833-1616.

November 14
The Golden Fleece of Louis XV

Historic diamond replica faceter Scott Sucher presents the legend of the Golden Fleece. The Golden Fleece was considered the finest piece of jewelry of 18th century Europe. See what happens after it is stolen and how a year long effort by a team created a life-size replica. A fascinating lecture for history buffs and anyone interested in historic jewelry.

Lecture – Adult - 2 p.m. – 60 minutes
Admission $10.00 per person, Museum Members Free
Reservations Recommended (630) 833-1616.


November 21
“Lapidary Day”

See demonstrations by artists from the West Suburban Lapidary Club including: beading, silversmithing, cabochon cutting, wire wrapping and faceting. Free hands-on activities and jewelry cleaning. The event is great way to see the Museum and learn more about lapidary art.

Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
All Ages - Free Admission

Gem Tree

December 5
“Create A Gem Tree”

Lapidaries Bill and Lois Zima of the DesPlaines Valley Geological Society teach how to create a small tree using gemstones and wire. These beautiful trees never need water and make a great gift.

Activity- Ages 9 yrs. to Adult – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Fee: $25.00 per person, Museum Members: $20.00
Reservations Required: (630) 833-1616.




Visiting Artist: Karen Davé

There is a thrill of discovery when cutting stones - they can look drab and ugly on the outside and have an unexpected beauty on the inside. When I open a stone, I am excited to realize that I am the first person to see the natural design contained inside. It took millions of years for this stone to travel to my hand.

The sparkling quality of stones was what initially drew me to them. As a child, I would doodle the geometrics of faceted stones - which led me to discover the world of other stones.
I have always been drawn to unusual jewelry. When I was very young, I would take apart costume jewelry, figure out how it was put together and then rearrange it and make displays of jewelry and stones. Unique shapes, colors and designs would connect with me. After I started cutting and polishing stones, I needed settings to complete them. I began making my own jewelry to complement the natural designs found inside the stones I cut.

Karen Davé was trained as a physicist but has worked in graphic arts for the past few years. She began cutting stones at age 30.  In 1983 she became a member of the West Suburban Lapidary Club and has been teaching lapidary classes for 20 years. Her classes include: cabochon cutting, silversmithing and wire wrap.

Members of the West Suburban Lapidary Club teach classes at the Elmhurst Park District’s Crestview Park. Check out for more info on classes. Karen will demonstrate “Unique Ways to Create Settings for Stone” at the Museum on Saturday, October 24 at 2 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Learn more about lapidary art and meet members of the West Suburban Lapidary Club at “Lapidary Day” Saturday, November 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A free admission event held at the Museum.

karen dave




Museum Founder, Joseph Lizzadro with his growing collection in his home in 1955.

Joseph Lizzadro on Collecting Jade
Joseph Lizzadro loved to speak about the jades in the Museum’s collection. He often said that as a collector he was mostly interested in jade art objects that were pleasing to his eye, and that to him age and historical values were secondary. He did not wish to attempt to compete with larger institutions such as the Field Museum that could exhibit old pieces in depth, including historical pieces and tomb objects.

Beauty of color, shape and workmanship were three of the important criteria in his collecting through the years. However several of the outstanding pieces in the collection do have a historical background and some pieces may be ceremonial importance.. (Excerpted from the Lizzadro Museum Publication Spring-Summer 1972.) More on the collection of Joseph Lizzadro in the next newsletter.


Outside the Museum circa 1970, Joseph Lizzadro hold carving of chloromelanite jade and amber.

Collector’s Talk Series

New this fall the Museum will host a series of lectures pertaining to Collectors, Collecting and the Lizzadro Collection. The programs will be of interest to anyone who has or is thinking about starting a collection. The programs will be geared toward art objects on permanent exhibit in the Museum. If you have any suggestions for programs please write or email the Museum at, include in the subject line: Collectors Talk Series.

Our first program in the series will focus on the formation of the extraordinary collection of Chinese art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Behind many of the Art Institute's earliest Chinese acquisitions are some of Chicago's foremost civic leaders, diplomats, journalists, businessmen, and scholars, as well as a few of China's own, but now little-known, luminaries. Elinor Pearlstein, the museum's Associate Curator of Chinese Art, will present some perspectives on their interacting lives as well as their roles in building the Art Institute's Chinese collection in the early 20th century.  Please join us Saturday, November 7 at 2 p.m. Reservations are recommended.

Elinor Pearlstein has served as Associate Curator of Chinese Art at the Art Institute of Chicago since 1986. She previously worked for ten years at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  She received her BA at Vassar College and MA at the University of Michigan. Her research has focused on the Art Institute's collection of ancient Chinese jades and ceramics, as well as on the archival history of Chinese and American collectors and scholars in Chicago.


Dragon pendants; jade; China, Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period, 4th-3rd century BC; Edward and Louise B. Sonnenschein Collection, 1950.640,1950.641. 

Photography © The Art Institute of Chicago 


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