Gem expert and explorer Dallas Patterson to visit Morrill Hall April 4

Released on 03/26/2013, at 2:00 AM
Office of University Communications
University of Nebraska–Lincoln

WHEN: Thursday, Apr. 4, 2013

WHERE: University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History, Morrill Hall, south of 14th and Vine Streets

Lincoln, Neb., March 26th, 2013 —
Sampling of Dallas Patterson's emerald collection, including
Sampling of Dallas Patterson's emerald collection, including "El Gigante" (top) (Photo: Dallas Patterson)

            Gem expert and Indiana Jones-style explorer Dallas Patterson will show off his collection of rare and beautiful emeralds from noon to 2 p.m. April 4 at the University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History in Morrill Hall, south of 14th and Vine streets on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln City Campus. Regular museum admission will apply.

            The Iowa native has been around the world excavating and collecting gems -- often amid treacherous conditions. In 2007, he discovered "El Gigante," a 220-carat emerald with natural crystal faces that he reports is one of the largest of its kind ever found in Colombia. Patterson will display the six-sided green crystal in its original position in the 7-pound, 5-ounce specimen of the host rock in which it grew. Patterson obtained the spectacular gem from a Colombian mine. Visitors will be able to see a variety of other emeralds in addition to "El Gigante." Patterson will also be available to answer questions about his adventures over the past 25 years.

            Visitors can dig even deeper into the world of crystals and geology in the museum's "Minerals and Meteorites" exhibit curated by R.M. "Matt" Joeckel, the museum's geology curator and professor in the UNL Conservation and Survey Division of the School of Natural Resources and the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The exhibit showcases Earth's diversity of minerals, along with several rare meteorites, including ones that fell in Nebraska. It will be on display through November. For more information about the exhibit and Patterson's appearance, visit

            Patterson will be the special guest at the Lincoln Gem and Mineral Club's annual show April 6 and 7 at the Lancaster Event Center, 4100 N. 84th St. The family-friendly event will feature presentations by Patterson, along with hands-on activities, displays of gems, minerals, fossils, artifacts, jewelry, and more. For more information, visit

            The University of Nebraska State Museum of Natural History in Morrill Hall is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. Sundays. Regular admission is $6 for adults (19 and over), $3 for children (5-18 years, 4 and under are free), and $13 for families (up to two adults and children). UNL staff, faculty, and students are admitted free with UNL ID. Museum members are also free with a valid membership card. There is an additional charge for planetarium shows. Parking is free in front of the museum. For further information, telephone the museum at 402-472-2642, or visit it's website or Mueller Planetarium's website,

Writer: Dana Ludvik