In 1984 the Smithsonian's National Gem Collection celebrated its 100th anniversary. It has grown from a 1,000 specimen collection, which was assembled by F.W. Clarke for the 1884 New Orleans Exposition, and little of which is now exhibited, to a highly respected major gem collection that ranks among the best in the world. From its inception the collection has grown steadily, but it was not until 1958, when the Museum was given the Hope Diamond, that the addition of phenomenal pieces of jewelry and first class gems began. The most recent of these additions was the 168-carat emerald pendant that dominates the Anna Case Mackay necklace, received through bequest in 1984.
Unfortunately, the gem hall is twenty-eight years old, and its age is all too obvious. Obtaining funding for a complete renovation of the exhibit is a high priority of the Museum's staff.