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Hidden Gems of UMass: The Rausch Mineral Gallery and How It Can Inspire Fashion

Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” This certainly could be the case for many of us here at UMass not only because of our campus’ massiveness but also because we are always on the move between classes and extracurricular activities. It is easy for us to miss out on everything our campus has to offer. Last week when searching for my teacher’s office in Morrill, I happened to come across a rather interesting room. The room was filled with glass cases with bright lights shining down onto beautiful sparkling objects that twinkled and caught the light so perfectly. 


At first they looked like jewels and gems emerging from rocks, but with a closer look and a pamphlet I had grabbed outside, I saw that they were actually minerals. It turns out that a man named Professor Rausch here at UMass Amherst back in 1963, collected minerals as a hobby outside of teaching Chemistry. It had been his life’s work and he traveled all around the world  finding and collecting these pieces. He was kind enough to donate some of his collection to UMass and I highly recommend you check the showcase out. It is absolutely magnificent.

While I was walking around the room carefully looking at each of the minerals, I could not help but think how inspiring the minerals were. We underestimate nature and its ability to create beautiful things. These natural shapes, forms, and colors and the way the light bounced off each of them, made me start to think that these would be great pieces to base some fashion designs off of. Fashion has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl and I always liked to draw up fashion designs that were inspired by my surroundings. The mineral gallery was just the kind of inspiration I liked to use! I encourage you all to let your environment inspire you when it comes to fashion, it is art after all. Here are the designs I came up with, maybe you can try to create some of your own!

This mineral…

Inspired this…

This first mineral inspired me with it’s sharp cuts, color, and the way some parts were jutting out. This was the design I came up with. 

This mineral…

Inspired this…

This mineral was much softer to me; it had soften lines and the pop of colors (teal and gold) are always a great combo! This is the drawing I came up with for this mineral.

Be sure to stop by the Rausch Mineral Gallery at 243 Morrill Science Center, open Monday through Friday.

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Annelise Mahoney

U Mass Amherst

College girl, dog lover, food fanatic, fashion addict, makeup enthusiast, I will be famous so I'll meet you in Hollywood!  "I've never been a millionaire but I know I'd be just darling at it." - Dorothy Parker
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