Museum "Ores of precious, non-ferrous metals and diamonds"

The Museum "Ores of precious and base metals and diamonds" of FSBI TsNIGRI has a collection of rocks, ores, and minerals of more than 500 ore deposits of gold, silver, platinum, base metals, and diamonds of Russia and the world, as well as of ore manifestations of the World Ocean. The specialized collection of primary and alluvial gold, representing the main gold-bearing provinces of Russia, is unique. The Museum exposition comprises systematized reference collections of ores and host rocks from the base and precious metal ore deposits of the principal economic-geologic types. These collections are often the only source of information on now fully exhausted ore deposits.

The collection material reflects all areas of the works carried out by the Institute and is the basis for a large number of specialized and thematic collections. The Museum’s samples are exhibited at relevant national and international exhibitions and attract unchangeable interest of the visitors. The Museum is a member of the international movement for the preservation of mineral diversity (Sofia initiative).

Geological museum of NIGRIzoloto (TsNIGRI) in the years 1935-1942.
Geological museum of NIGRIzoloto (TsNIGRI) in the years 1935-1942.

On March 28, 1935, an order of the "Glavzoloto" Division of the People's Commissariat of Heavy Industry of the former USSR was signed on creation at the Institute "of a Geological Museum of gold-bearing rocks and ores form the gold industry enterprises...". The first exhibits of the Museum were received in early 1935. A systematic collection of ores of precious metals had begun to be created in 1937 in connection with preparation for the International Geological Congress that was held in the USSR.

In 1956, the Museum collections composed in the postwar years, that included samples of ores and rocks from gold deposits of the Far East, Western Siberia, Yakutia, the Urals, Altai, and other regions of the country, were conserved and placed in the archive for organizational reasons. The works on the Museum arrangement and expansion resumed in 1989, which was promoted by activities of the Ministry of Geology of the USSR, aimed at creating its own official museum fund. These works were resulted in creation of an exposition that characterized the ores and host rocks from various parts of the ore-forming space at mineral deposits of the base and precious metals and diamonds, assigned to the principal economic-geologic types.

In April, 2018, a new room of the Museum was opened that was situated on the fourth floor of the main building of the Institute. In the course of preparation of the new exhibition, the most interesting samples of rocks and ores were selected, the polished samples and photos of ore specimens and of transparent and polished sections were manufactured, and the posters and stands reflecting achievements of TsNIGRI in the development of the mineral resource base of Russia were updated.

New exposition of the Museum “Ores of Precious and base metals and diamonds”, TsNIGRI, 2018.
New exposition of the Museum “Ores of Precious and base metals and diamonds”, TsNIGRI, 2018.

Participants of the VIII Scientific and Applied Conference during an excursion in the Museum
Participants of the VIII Scientific and Applied Conference during an excursion in the Museum

The basis of the Museum fund is comprised of stone material, i.e. samples, specimens of rocks and ores, illustrating the most important ore-mineralogical characteristics of mineral deposits of the Russian Federation, CIS, and other countries of the world. The scientific-assistive fund contains a systematic collection of thin and polished sections, a photo library (atlases, albums, posters, etc.), graphical materials, and analytical data that complement the collections. The main task of the Museum is the collection, processing, systematization, and storage of the samples and collections of ores from the relevant-profile mineral deposits. The extensive collection material allows one use the Museum resources in various aspects.

The “Ore deposits of precious metals” section of the Museum exposition
The “Ore deposits of precious metals” section of the Museum exposition

Areas of the Museum activities

Advertising and marketing – Promotion of the Institute achievements in the study of ore deposits; demonstration of materials on ore objects suitable for licensing; organization of exhibitions; creation of posters and booklets. Exhibits of the Museum have repeatedly been demonstrated at Russian and international conferences and exhibitions. The Museum develops and maintains scientific ties with other museums and geological organizations. The Museum halls are recommended for visiting by official delegations.

Scientific methodical – The Museum collections are the richest material for multi-purpose study and comparative analysis of the mineral deposits and are widely used in comprehensive investigations conducted by the Institute. The Museum renders significant assistance for the students of geological universities and young scientists, providing them materials for the research.

Informational and fund supporting – creation of the exhibit and the reserve funds, mineralogical and geochemical study of the collections, inter-museum exchange of specimens and collections.

Educational – Popularization of achievements of modern geology in the development of theoretical fundamentals of the ore deposit science; promotion of attractiveness of geological sciences among young people, of a general and scientific professional career orientation, as well as of the importance of the geology and metallogeny science in the socio-economic and cultural development of society. The Museum specialists conduct general and thematic excursions for employees of various organizations, foreign delegations, university students, participants of conferences held in TsNIGRI, and students of Moscow schools. The Museum periodically organizes exhibitions on applied and artistic subjects, meetings with scientists and artists. It hosts permanent exhibitions of stone arts by A. K. Stepanov, Laureate of art exhibitions, and by Honored Artist of the Russian Federation, Professor S. P. Serova.


The systematic collection presents ores of gold, silver, platinum, copper, lead, zinc, nickel, cobalt, and diamonds from mineral deposits of the principal economic-geological types. This collection is permanently exhibited in the Museum and allows one to get acquainted with different types of ores of mineral deposits. The exposition currently presented in the halls of the Museum consists of the three main sections:

  • mineral deposits of precious metals;
  • mineral deposits of base metals;
  • diamond deposits.

The section «Mineral deposits of precious metals» contains stone material that characterizes gold and gold-silver deposits formed in various geotectonic environments. The stone material is provided with information on the mineral deposit settings, the mineral and chemical composition of the ore-hosting and ore-bearing formations, the morphology of the ore bodies, the development degree of the mineral deposits, and the role of TsNIGRI in their study.

Ore deposits in volcanic and volcanoplutonic belts: Dukatskoe, Aginskoe, Kubaka, Tas-Yuryakh, Kuranakh, Taseevskoe, Karamken, Kochbulak, Zodskoe, Mnogovershinnoe, Ametistovoe, etc. The most typical specimens are represented by gold-bearing quartz and quartz-adularia veins with the festoon-banded, cockade-banded, colloform-banded, and brecciform-banded structures. Their productive mineral assemblages are the quartz-adularia-hydromicaceous, quartz-pyrite, gold-telluride, and gold-chalcopyrite-gray ore ones.

Ore deposits in volcanosedimentary formations and granitoids of mobile belts, greenstone throughs, and volcanic grabens: Darasun, Berezovskoe, Klyuchevskoe, Kochkar, Bestyube, Saralinskoe, etc. Their typical ore formations are gold-bearing quartz and carbonate-quartz veins and veinlets in berezites, granodiorites, granodiorite porphyries, and plagiogranite porphyries. Sulfide minerals in the veins are represented by pyrite, arsenopyrite, galena, chalcopyrite, gray copper ores, etc. A wide variety of gold parageneses (the gold-bismuth, gold-copper, and gold-tellurium ones) is characteristic for these mineral deposits.

Ore deposits in terrigenous and terrigenous-carbonate formations of the shelf and continental slope: Natalkinskoe, Sovetskoe, Eldorado, Nezhdaninskoe, Yurskoe, Tokur, Muruntau, Kumtor, Vasilkovskoe, Sukhoi Log, etc. Their ore mineralization is represented by sulfide-quartz veins and mineralized zones, gold-sulfide veinlet-disseminated zones, and stockworks and zones of easily processed substantially quartzose ores. The productive mineral assemblages are the pyrite-arsenopyrite with fine-dispersed gold; gold-quartz-pyrite; and gold-arsenopyrite-polymetallic with quartz, ankerite, and albite.

In the section «Mineral deposits of base metals», of particular interest are the mineral and structural varieties of ores from objects of the volcanogenic massive sulfide deposits (VMSD) family that comprises the Uralian, Lesser-Caucasian, Rudnyi Altai, and Filizchai economic-geological types.

The Museum possesses an extensive collection of ores and host rocks from giant and very rich pyrite-polymetallic and lead-zinc ore deposits associated with Precambrian metamorphic complexes, that are metamorphosed under conditions of the greenschist (Mac Arthur, Mount Isa), amphibolite (Kholodninskoe), and granulite (Broken Hill) metamorphic facies. They are characterized by a wide distribution of structures and textures, formed at high temperatures and pressures and by close association of sulfides with the high-temperature metamorphic minerals.

The section «Mineral deposits of base metals» also exhibits specimens of ores from porphyry copper deposits (Peschanka, Chatyrkul, Bingham, etc.) and from sediment-hosted stratabound copper deposits (Udokan, Dzhezkangan). Ore deposits of base and precious metals, localized in basic and ultrabasic rocks, are represented by samples and specimens of ores from the largest objects of this type, the Bushveld ultrabasic massif, Stillwater complex, Talnakh, Allarechenskoe, Pechenga, etc.

The exposition «Diamond deposits» gives a characteristics of the main industrial and genetic types of diamond deposits of the most important diamond-bearing provinces of Russia, situated in Sakha-Yakutia, the Arkhangelsk Region, and the Azov Sea region. The exhibition presents kimberlites and other diamondiferous rocks, satellite minerals of diamonds, as well as postmagmatic minerals of kimberlites.