Magazine article ROM Magazine

Rock-Solid Curator: Kim Tait Discusses the ROM's Growing Collection of Minerals, Meteorites, and Gems

Magazine article ROM Magazine

Rock-Solid Curator: Kim Tait Discusses the ROM's Growing Collection of Minerals, Meteorites, and Gems

Article excerpt

Coming from a military family, Kim Tait's childhood was spent travelling all across Canada. She was a rock collector from a very young age, and when the family moved from one posting to another, so did Kim's collection. "People would jokingly ask if I was carrying rocks in my luggage. Turned out they were right!" laughs Kim.

Her interest in mineralogy only grew with time. She moved to Toronto in 2007 to start as the ROM's new curator of Mineralogy, where she was immediately tasked with managing three major developments. Kim was the lead curator on the development of the Teck Suite of Galleries, while also curating two key exhibitions. Around the same time, she secured her first acquisition for the ROM. A 20-carat, Muzo mine emerald ring set in platinum with 56 diamonds had been dropped off at a consignment store in downtown Toronto. The store's owner felt that the ring belonged in a museum and contacted the ROM. "There are benchmarks of colour to which all coloured gems are compared. In the case of emerald, it is the intense blue-green colour of the old Colombian material that sets the highest standard. Colombia is the only emerald locality of its kind in the world. The largest emerald at the ROM was eight carats, so this ring was a significant upgrade," explains Kim. The ring is now on display in the Gem and Gold gallery.

In 2008, Kim received a call from a famous meteorite hunter who had found a specimen that weighed 52.7 kilograms. When the meteorite fell to Earth in 1931, three smaller pieces had been acquired but very little stayed in Canada. Finding this piece was remarkable, and through the generous support of the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust and the Canadian Cultural Property Review Board, the famous Springwater pallasite came to the ROM. "When we cut a small piece of the pallasite for research, we invited media outlets to come and see it opened for the first time. You could barely walk downstairs, there were so many reporters," she recalls. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.