Minerals of Switzerland

The exploration of Swiss minerals and their deposits dates back to the 16th century. They have also enjoyed high international renown for centuries. Swiss minerals are represented in the most important collections around the world. The Natural History Museum Basel is home to one of the largest on the planet.

The collection comprises around 16,000 individual objects and object groups. Currently, around 700 different mineral species have been found in Switzerland. The majority of them were found in the Alps and the Swiss Jura.

The collection follows the order of the book entitled 'Die Mineralfunde der Schweiz' ('The mineral deposits of Switzerland') by Robert L. Parker from 1973. This classification scheme distinguishes between 16 geographical and mineralogical areas of deposits across Switzerland. Within these areas, objects are sorted by their mineral associations and alphabetically by locality.

Outstanding minerals from our collection include the around 800 objects obtained from the Simplon railway tunnel, which was completed in 1906. No less spectacular are a piece of gold from Disentis (2001) and minerals from a collection of the Bally-Prior Museum at Schönenwerd (2003).