Today is the professional holiday of Russian geologists

Geologist Day is a professional holiday of specialists related to geological sciences and profession. The holiday was established by the Decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Sov dated March 31, 1966 and falls on the first Sunday of April, which is associated with the beginning of preparations for summer work and equipping for expeditions. In 2024, Geologist Day falls on April 7.

A group of scientists led by Academician Alexander Yanshin initiated the establishment of a professional holiday for geologists. In October 2021, the state strategic initiative "Geology. Revival of a Legend" – a plan for the development of domestic geological exploration until 2030 was approved.

The origins of geology date back to ancient times and are associated with the first information about rocks, minerals and ores. It is reliably known that in ancient Russia salt, ragstone, precious metals and mineral pigments were extracted in the 10th–13th centuries. Necklaces and earrings made of carnelian and rock crystal are found in the burials of the Slavic nobility of this historical period, and a large number of stones and items made of them, which were brought, as a rule, from Byzantium or from China, have been discovered.

The era of Peter the Great was a turning point in the history of geology in Russia. In 1720, the Tsar appointed V. Tatishchev the first mining chief of the Ural and Siberian factories. Among various crafts that Vasily Tatishchev planned to develop in the future Yekaterinburg were stone-cutting and lapidary. It was at this time that the Urals subsoil assets became more in demand than ever before – a targeted search and development of deposits of decorative stones, emeralds, chrysoprases, rubies, topazes, alexandrites, amethysts and tourmalines began. For the construction of the new capital of Russia, ragstone, ornamental and decorative stone was needed, and it had to be found and started to be mined.

The birth date of industrial stone processing is considered to be 1725, when the first Russian lapidary factory was opened by decree of Peter the Great. It was located in Peterhof, and ornamental stones were brought there from different parts of the Empire. Only a year later, workshops were set up in the raw material-rich Urals, where gemstones began to be processed. In 1765, a new factory appeared in Yekaterinburg, and a little later – the Kolyvan factory in Altai.

Russian lapidary art craftsmen managed to rise to the top of mastery. They made fireplaces, table tops, decorative vases, chalices, cold arms grips, snuff boxes, inkwells, bottles and desktop seals. The best works of Russian artisans are stored in the Hermitage and other museums around the world.

It is impossible to develop ferrous metallurgy and nonferrous-metals industry, gold mining  industry and finally, jewelry and arts and crafts without geology.
Jewelry art on the one hand and geology on the other – are overlapping spheres. In educational institutions where future geologists are trained, there are special educational and scientific courses of mineralogy with a focus on gemology, which becomes an important link in the training of unique specialists who combine knowledge of the entire process - starting with the search, exploration and extraction of decorative and precious stones and minerals, and ending with the production of the final product – turning the mined raw materials into unique works of jewelry art.

Geology, art and culture often overlap and interact in the process of various human activities as nature and art interact in it. One is impossible without the other.

On the Day of Geologist we offer a detailed look at the works of jewelers and stone-cutting art artisans, created from precious and ornamental stones, presented in the sections of the museum collection "Jewelry and Accessories" and "Lapidary and Bone-carving Art Items".

The story about lapidary art artisans is posted in the section "Audio Stories".

On the cover: Figure of a miner. Paul Dreher. Germany, Idar-Oberstein. The 20th century

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