One of the oldest, most attractive and in cultural-historical sense most significant mineralogical collections is our Zois’ collection. It encompasses some 5,000 mineral and rock specimens. About 300 of them are exhibited here, while the rest are kept in the Museum’s depository (where unexhibited objects are stored).
This is the founding collection of the very first museum in Slovenia. Just a mere glance at it tells us that the minerals differ from each other in colour, form, size and brilliance, as well as in their solidness and abrasion.
If we take a close look at the collection, we can see that some of the minerals have perfectly shaped crystals. These are bodies that are limited by level planes. The crystals of separate minerals differ from each other due to the inner structure of a mineral, its chemical composition and condition in which it was formed. The large and perfectly shaped crystals are formed if suitable conditions exist for it. The most important factor is, however, that a mineral has enough time and space to crystallize undisturbed.
The exhibited minerals are arranged according to the present-day classification and on the basis of their inner structure. First we can see the elements that occur as self-sawn in nature. They are followed by sulphides, then oxides and hydroxides, various salts, silicates, and organic compounds.
The collection also includes the mineral zoisite, named after Sigmund (Žiga) Zois, the collection’s original owner. As an expert on minerals, Zois established that he was dealing with a new and till then utterly unknown mineral. This is why was eventually named after him.