James understands how much of a crazy gemstone lover I am. He was incredibly patient with me as I took my time browsing the Yamanashi Gem Museum’s decent rock collection. They have a lot of shiny jewellery pieces on display, but I was most interested in their raw, roughly cut stones. I don’t care much for over-polished, “brilliant cut” jewels because they all start to look the same (or at least aim to look similar) once they undergo that process – the same refraction, the same transparency, the same sort of colour, the same sheen. At least in their more natural forms, gemstones retain their individual character and beauty. Well, that’s what I think anyway.
The Yamanashi Gem Museum was thankfully empty when we arrived (probably because of the wet weather outside) and we had the whole place to ourselves! The museum (which, by the way, is Japan’s only gem museum) is actually more of a gallery, with rows and rows of glass cases containing artfully displayed pieces. A number of large freeform geode specimens can also be found scattered around the hall. In all, the museum boasts approximately 500 different varieties of stones from all over the world, as well as other materials related to jewellery such as amber, pearl and coral.
YAMANASHI GEM MUSEUM
6713 Funatsu Fujikawaguchiko-machi
Minamitsuru-gun Yamanashi 401-0301
Opening hours: 9am-5:30pm / 9:30am-5pm (winter)
Admission fee: ¥600