The Permanent Collection
The Lizzadro Museum displays more than 200 pieces of jade and other hardstone carvings from around the world, featuring several internationally famous pieces. Included are a fine nephrite jade imperial altar set completed during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and an exquisite cinnabar screen encrusted with carved gemstones. The screen was a birthday gift to the Chinese emperor, Qianlong (Ch’ien Lung) in 1791. Both the screen and the altar set were originally housed in the lavish imperial palaces of China.
Other prime examples of lapidary art are exhibited in the form of snuff bottles, modern and antique vases and bowls, and many other decorative and functional items. Three walls of the Museum’s main floor feature dioramas, each one a small scene populated by creatures native to that environment. Children and adults alike are fascinated by the gemstone inhabitants of these dioramas, all of which were carved in Idar-Oberstein, Germany.
The Museum’s collection also features beautiful examples of Florentine and Roman stone mosaics, cameos and intaglios, and displays of faceted gemstones and mineral specimens. Finally, the awe-inspiring Castle Lizzadro is an 18K gold sculpture with diamond windows setting on a base of mineral specimens.
The Rock & Mineral Experience
The Rock and Mineral Experience features exhibits exploring the world of earth science. Learn how a tree turns to stone, how hard jade is, what minerals make up granite and see fossils through geologic time. Exhibits include rough and polished stone with outstanding minerals. Touch a meteorite or watch short videos on jade carving, cabochon cutting, faceting and an introduction to the Museum exhibits. Interact with the Illinois map and fluorescent mine along with hands on specimens.
Rocky the Rock Hound presents new video games that explore the world of rocks, minerals, and fossils! Play a game to find out what mineral is in your toothpaste with Mineral Match. Then find out how much diamonds cost with Strike It Rich! Finally, dig out cool fossils (then see the real thing!) with Fossil Dig! These games are exclusively available at the Museum!