A gem collection once owned by the late H. Owens Phillips was recently donated to Emory & Henry College for use as an educational display.
The donation was transferred to the college by a familiar face, retired E&H chemistry professor Dr. Joseph McCoy. McCoy came to possess the collection in the early 1990s after the death of Phillips’ wife, whose heirs had expressed an interest in giving the 10 boxes of gems to the college.
At the time, Emory & Henry did not have a geologist on staff, and McCoy feared the impressive collection would be lost or possibly discarded. He agreed to keep the collection with the hope that one day the college would be able to take possession of the collection and display it in a way that would help students learn more about the molecular structure of the gems.
“We are so grateful to Dr. McCoy for his stewardship, organization and maintenance of the collection,” said Dr. Edward Davis, professor with the Geology Department at Emory & Henry.
McCoy created a document listing the contents of each box, while a page containing a complete listing of each individual gem was found with the collection.
Though an exact location for the collection has yet to be determined, Davis is working with his E&H colleague, Dr. Sara Bier, on making the display a student project for the upcoming spring semester.
Davis is researching the Phillips family, about which little is known. H. Owens Phillips was a former director at the Barter Theatre, but little is known about his wife. If you have any information about the Phillips family, please click here to contact Dr. Davis.