I’m back in London after a month travelling round South East Asia. I had a great time in Vietnam, including a visit to the beautiful Gemstones Art Museum in the UNESCO World Heritage city of Hoi An.

You all probably know I’m more of a metalwork jeweller than a stone setter, but this lovely museum was fascinating none the less. Housed in a 19th century Chinese merchant’s home, the collection features huge samples of raw minerals straight from the earth, as well as polished and cut stones showing the processes involved in creating gems and an impressive selection of finely carved gemstones and sculptures by Vietnamese artists and craftsmen.

The museum features over 100 rare natural gemstone specimens including emerald, rock crystal, violet spinel & humite (shown here), sapphire, jade, tourmaline, peridot, garnet and more…

The collection of over 360 gemstone carvings features animals, deities, landscapes and characters from Vietnamese folklore amongst other subjects. Some are huge, weighing up to 33kg, and many small enough to fit in palm of a hand. tektite, tourmaline and ruby carvings are the most numerous.

Definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in that part of the world. or check out their website here: http://www.gam-hoian.com/

Macro photography by James Hough.