Newsletter | Calendar of Events

Calendar of Events

  • 23

    Rocks on the Beach: Geology 101 in Sandals

    2:00 pm-3:00 pm
    Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art
    1220 Kensington Road, Oak Brook, IL 60523

    Beachcombing for rocks along the shores of Lake Michigan is not only fun, but also serves as a study into the geologic story of the Great Lakes region. Discover how sedimentary limestone containing fossils indicate that the Midwest was once a tropical ocean; and learn how the igneous and metamorphic rocks show the movement of glaciers during the Ice Age. Join Dave Dolak for this presentation and better appreciate your next stroll along the beaches of Lake Michigan.

    Lecture – 2:00 p.m – 60 minutes
    Students & Adults
    Regular Museum Admission
    Museum Members Free

    Reservations Recommended
    Sign up

Special Exhibit
The Richard H. Driehaus Lapidary Collection
Extended through August 31, 2024

Chicago philanthropist Richard Driehaus left a rich legacy of art objects to his Foundation. The Lizzadro Museum is the recipient of his lapidary collection including a variety of unique stone objects from around the world and two 19th century Roman micromosaics on loan.

Regular Museum Admission – Regular Museum Hours

Pop-Up Presentation

Saturday May 11
Cicada Invasion: Cicadas in Society, History, and Art
This year is a record year for the cicada emergence with two different broods (13 year and 17 year) emerging together over the central Illinois region. The next time these brood emergences coincide will be 2245! Learn about these periodical cicadas, their unique biology, and ecological impact. The lecture will also discuss the symbolism of cicadas in Chinese culture and the Museum’s collection. Presented by Donald Baumgartner, a Medical Entomologist employed at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Chicago.
Lecture – 2:00 p.m. – 60 minutes
Students and Adults – Regular Museum Admission – Museum Members Free
Reservations Recommended – Sign up here

Calcite: The All-Seeing Mineral

By Sara Kurth

Blue calcite pair with staff.

As you enter the Special Exhibit Hall, you can’t miss the pair of blue calcite slabs on display. This impressive specimen was donated from the Richard H. Driehaus Lapidary Collection to the Lizzadro Museum in 2023. Discovered in an Argentinian mine, this specimen comes by its color naturally – it has not been treated to enhance coloration. Blue calcite is only found in a few places on earth, most notably Mexico and South Africa. The color comes from trace amounts of impurities present while the mineral was forming. The mine this piece originated from has only a small vein of blue calcite, making this piece rare as well as unique for its size. Although the slab has been cut and polished, the edges were left in their natural state to show the original boulder form.

While the Blue Calcite on display is rare and unique, the mineral calcite, a calcium carbonate, is a very common mineral. It can be found in over 300 crystal variations. It is the main component of the limestone bedrock in our area. Calcite also makes up shells and bones. Calcite composes a significant portion (about 4% by weight) of the crust and can be found worldwide, mainly as a mineral within sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Calcite, with a hardness of just 3 on the Mohs scale, is not typically used in lapidary work nor recognized as a gemstone due to its softness. However, it does serve many other every day uses. Limestone and marble are mainly calcite. These stones have been used as building and construction materials for thousands of years, including the pyramids of Egypt. Calcite is employed in environmental remediation efforts to clean streams that have been contaminated with drainage from mining activities. Medications such as antacids contain calcium carbonate from pure limestone sources work in a similar way in the body neutralizing acids. Iceland spar, more commonly called optical calcite, is thought to have been used by Vikings to navigate. It is possible to discern the sun’s position, even on cloudy days, by utilizing calcite’s double refraction property. This optical calcite also formed the lenses of the compound eye for Paleozoic-aged trilobites.

The Lizzadro Museum has many samples of calcite on display. In the Rock and Mineral Experience Hall, two pieces stand out. The Houndstooth Calcite from the historic lead mining district of Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma and the Angel Wing Calcite from Mexico. Both pieces are on permanent display and show two examples of calcite’s varied crystal forms.


Clarkson, Euan. “The Eyes of Trilobites: The Oldest Preserved Visual System.” Arthropod Structure & Development, October 23, 2006.

Dietrich, R.V. “Calcite.” Encyclopedia Britannica, January 20, 2024.

Lagomarsino, James. A pocket guide to rocks and minerals. Bath, England: Parragon, 2009, 50-53.

Ropars, Guy, et al. “A Depolarizer as a Possible Precise Sunstone for Viking Navigation by Polarized Skylight.” Proc. R. Soc. A.468671–684.  

Correction from the Winter Newsletter:
George William Satterwhite donated the Japanese netsukes and gemstone spheres

15 Days in May

Looking for the perfect gift for that special someone?
Mom looking for new jewelry?
Dad tired of the power tools? Graduations galore?
The Museum Shop has unique items for everyone on your shopping list!

Museum Members double your discount to 20% off

May 4 through 18, 2024


Pick Up Your KDRMA Passport to Adventures Here!

Discover wonderful museums and nature centers right around the corner!
This program runs year-round and is open to anyone and everyone!
Passports will be available starting May 1st, 2024 at the Lizzadro Museum.



Become a Member and Save!

A membership to the Lizzadro Museum is the perfect gift
for the rockhounds in your life!

Join today!

Want to stay informed?
Sign up below to receive our emails!

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Have you missed a lecture?
Check out our YouTube Channel
to watch all of our virtual lectures!

From the Curator’s Corner