Kustos: Services

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Museum & Exhibit Design:

Kustos can organize and plan the development of totally new exhibits of minerals and gemstones for museums or private collectors, or direct the modification of existing exhibits. Especially important is the ability of Kustos to assess the utility of current museum posssessions insofar as their use in new exhibits is concerned. Where needed, and with sufficient financial resources on the part of the museum, Kustos can arrange the acquisition of new specimens needed for the development of an appropriate exhibition. Kustos maintains a broad network of mineral and gem suppliers worldwide and can be an effective and economical acquirerer of specimen materials on behalf of clients.

Unfortunately, smaller museums tend to be underfinanced and thus often feel that they cannot embark upon major renovations and new exhibit development. Just the same, exhibits can be developed on many different levels and they do not necessarily need to be extremely expensive. Many innovative and exciting changes can be made on a modest basis that can substantially transform a museum's image.

Mr. White has planned and executed several exhibits of minerals, gems and geology while at the Smithsonian Institution. More recently he has produced a mineral and gem exhibit at The Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul (1993). He has collaborated on preliminary plans for the opening of a new museum, The Ben E. Clement Memorial Museum, Marion, Kentucky. He renovated the North Carolina mineral display at the Nature Museum, Grandfather Mountain, NC.

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Museum Collection Assessment:

Mr. White is prepared to evaluate old institutional mineral and gem collections from the prespective of determining their usefulness; whether as a research or reference resource or to assess their potential utility in support of creating new exhibitions. He is prepared to appraise such collections when museums need to know their value.

Collection disposal. Some institutions may decide that they must dispose of some or all of their mineral and/or gem collections. Mr. White can advise on how best to handle this and recommend appropriate steps to maximize the value of such collection items if sold.

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Current Museum Affiliations:

Adjunct curator/Consultant, The Ben E. Clement Mineral Museum
   205 N. Walker Street
   Marion, Kentucky 42064

Adjunct curator, New Mexico Museum of Natural History
   1801 Mountain Road, N.W.
   Albuquerque, New Mexico 87104

Consultant, mineral exhibit, Nature Museum, Grandfather Mountain
(1993-present) P.O. Box 129
   Linville, North Carolina 28646
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Kustos offers qualified appraisals of minerals, gems and works of lapidary art such as pietre dure. Some of the appraisals provided by White include:

  • Houston Museum of Natural Science - mineral collection (Sept. 1991)
  • Folch Girona Collection, Barcelona, Spain - mineral collection (Oct. 1991)
  • M. Romero Museum, Puebla, Mexico - mineral collection (May 1994)
  • The Lyman Museum, Hilo, Hawaii - mineral and gem collection (April 1995)
  • Plus...
  • Gems at Hillwood, the Marjorie M. Post Estate in Washington D.C. (1991)
  • Numerous pieces of lapidary art donated to various institutions including the Smithsonian (1993-1998)
  • Mineral collection donated to University of Delaware, Newark, DE (1995)
  • Gem collection donated to University of Delaware, Newark, DE (1995)
  • Qualifications as an appraiser:
  • More than ten years as a mineral/gem dealer (1960-1962, 1991-present)
  • Twenty-eight years purchasing and exchanging minerals and gemstones while at the
    U.S. National Museum, Smithsonian Institution (1963-1991)
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Mineral & Gem Sales:

John S. White's love of minerals and gems has further resulted in the development of a specialized mineral and gem sales business in which he caters to the special requirements of individual clients.

photo of amethyst arch by Roberto Appiani
Amethyst arch in geode.
Artigas, Uruguay
Photo by Roberto Appiani
image of Pink Topaz on Qurartz

Pink topaz on quartz
Brumado mine, Bahia, Brazil
Photo by W.E. Wilson

He has an inventory of very fine and beautifully crystallized mineral specimens, including single crystals. He also carries a modest inventory of faceted and cabochon-cut gems. He has excellent contacts with gem cutters and original sources so can obtain virtually any fine gem or mineral on request.

"Sunrise" pin designed by John S. White,
with garnet, citrine and sunstone
Photo by Chip Clark

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John White is a prolific author of articles about minerals and gems. Today his articles and editorials appear in such publications as Mineralogical Record, Rocks & Minerals, Lapidary Journal, Rock & Gem and the Munich Show Catalog.

List of publications.

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John White's repertoire of lectures includes:
  • "The National Gem Collection"
  • "The National Mineral Collection"
  • "American Gems"
  • "The Smithsonian Experience"
  • "The Hope Diamond"
  • "Inclusions in Crystals"
  • "Minerals of the Foote mine, N.C."
List of speaking engagements for this decade.

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