All posts by Sylvia Humphrey

About Sylvia Humphrey

I look after the rocks, minerals and fossils at the Great North Museum: Hancock and Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.

Pebbles on the beaches of Northumberland

Hi, my name is Sylvia, I’m the geologist at the Great North Museum: Hancock.  Now that the museum is closed for the foreseeable future and our extensive collection of rocks, minerals and fossils is not accessible, I looked to local… Read more

The Sound of the Singing Sands: Part 1

Inspired by a collection of ‘Singing Sand’ samples in the Great North Museum: Hancock rock collection and accounts of earlier research, I’ve been given the opportunity to dig a little deeper and visit some local beaches where the sand has… Read more

Singing Sands of the Northumberland Coast

Several years ago while cataloguing material in the Hancock Museum rock collection I came across some packets of sand. They didn’t contain a great deal of information apart from the localities that the sand had been collected from – the… Read more

Marie Antoinette’s Blue Diamond?

In the late seventeenth century, Jean Baptiste Tavernier, the French merchant and traveller, acquired a large blue roughly triangular shaped diamond, which originated in the Kollur Mine in Golconda, India.  It was sold to Louis XIV of France, and recut,… Read more

Replicas of the Cullinan Diamond

The Cullinan diamond is the largest gem quality diamond ever found.  It was found in the Premier Mine at Kimberley, South Africa, in January 1905, and weighed 3106 metric carats (one carat = 0.20 gram).  It had a good blue-white… Read more