Rock Out at the Field Museum

Permanent exhibit features precious gems

By Erica Bethe Levin
|  Thursday, Oct 29, 2009  |  Updated 5:22 PM CDT
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The 97.45-carat red topaz is just one of the gems on display at the Field Museum.

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Diamonds aren't a girl's only best friend.

There's also red topaz. And peridot. And the (wonderfully expensive) sapphire.

You'll get to see them all at the recently re-launched Grainger Hall of Gems at the Field Museum.

Lester Lampert, Oak Street jeweler and master of the bling -- his family's been icing up celebs since 1920 --  was commissioned to transform 27 of the Museum's most stunning, albeit old school gems into contemporary, over-the-top jewelry pieces.

Some standouts include a 97.45-carat red topaz, a 153.79-carat peridot measuring nearly two and one-half inches (!) and a double-sided, 37.90-carat star sapphire. Can you say big-time bling?

The pieces were unveiled last week and are on permanent exhibit at ye old Field. Don't plan on throwing down the AmEx on your dream gem though -- c'mon, this a museum! If your appetite for the divine is not sated simply by viewing 27 tantalizing, taunting, teasing rocks, you can purchase museum-inspired pieces at Lampert's 15 E. Oak Street store.

And at much more reasonable prices, like, say, oh, $700, instead of $3 million, it's a much easier way to walk away with your own little piece of history.

Erica Bethe Levin is realizing that her bling-bling collection is running a bit low as she writes for and edits CheekyChicago.com.

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