In 1902 the the German merchant Kurt Kamlah from Hamburg makes a donation by his grandfather Hermann Angerstein, which puts a solid foundation of the mineralogical-petrological collection at the NMNHS. The collection includes 724 specimens and 185 mineral species, collected from the then-operating deposits mainly in Europe.
The past century marks different stages in the development of mineral collections. Samples with high scientific value and significant aesthetic qualities are received and stored. A large number of them have served to create many scientific publications, and another part was donated after their publication.
The exhibition shows some of the mineral species found in Bulgaria: strashimiritе (holotype) from the Zapachitsa Deposit discovered by Mincheva-Stefanova, orpheite (topotype) and ardaite (topotype) from Madzharovo Mine established by Kolkovski and Breskovska et al., balkanite (topotype), discovered by Atanasov and Kirov in the Sedmochislenitsi Mine. Topotypes of the kostovite from the Chelopech Mine, first described by Terziev, and entered into the museum after his re-diagnosis, and vassilite, discovered by Atanasov, and bonchevite described by Kostov. The holotype of the newly described tsaregorodtsevite from Man-Hambo, North Ural was given in 1992 by its researchers L. Paoutov and V. Karpenko. The other holotype is manganilvaite from the Osikovo — Madan deposit, recently donated by R. Vassileva. The manganilvaite is a new mineral species for science, found in the skarns Pb-Zn deposits from the Central Rhodopes in the Madan — Osikovo and Mogila ore deposits and Luki ore region — Govedarnika Deposit. It is found in scarn ores among the marbles, along with rich manganese minerals: johannsenite, hedenbergite, rhodonite and rhodochrosite. The name of the mineral is related to its closeness to the ilvaite as an isomorphic member of his group and corresponds to its composition. The museum also preserves topotypes of armstrongite, czehite, sekaninaite, sidorenkite, curetonite, etc., donated to the museum by their researchers.
The largest collections in the museum are from hydrothermal and ore deposits from the Madan ore region and from the copper mines near Bourgas. From these places the museum collection preserves published and described: ‘Dodecaedric’ chalcopyrite from Madan, donated by Eng. E. Mirovic. Sphalerites, galenites, roodonites and various carbonates from the same mines were published by Mincheva-Stefanova and Gorova. From the hydrothermal metamorphic extraction of the Sedmochislenitsi Deposit, we have samples tested by Mincheva-Stefanova, as well as the new supergene minerals for Bulgaria — cobaltoan smithsonite, thyrolite, cornvalite, conichalcite, duftite from the Sedmochislenitsi and Zapachitsa mines in the Western Stara Planina Mountains. Phosphate and sulphate minerals from the Spakhievo ore field include: turquoise, cacoxeniite and osarizawaite. The sample of potassium nitrate is from Obichnik Deposit. Samples of zeolite mineralisations, some of which are described by Kostov, zeolite mineralisations from the locality South Shetland Islands, Antarctica and prehnite from Cherniya Kos locality, Vitosha and the largest Bulgarian kaolinite crystal from the village of Glavanak. In the museum are preserved some precious varieties and decorative minerals, such as aquamarine, garnets, rhodonite, amethyst, agate and jasper from the Rhodopes and Pirin and malachite from the Ellatsite Mine, Etropole.
There is a great variety of specimens collected and studied in the metamorphic complexes, pegmatites and scarns in the Rhodopes and Rila Mountains. They are reflected in many publications of their researchers: andalusite and its paramorphoses after kyanite (disten), and sillimanite lenses from the regions of Chepelare and Ardino, rare-metallic pegmatites mineralisations with samarskite, ishikawaite, gahnite, zircon, allanite (ortit), moraеsit, and others from Zlatograd, Koprivshtitsa and Rila, beryl, columbite, мonazite from Vishteritsa, W. Rhodope Mts, beryl and chrysoberyl from the NW Rila Mts, as well as the scapolite, diopside, vesuvianite, optically anomalous andradite, bismuthinite, thulite, clinozoisite, margarite-Be, fuchsite, scheelite from desilycated and scarned pegmatites in the same area. Another emerald from its second Bulgarian deposit near the village of Yugovo is shown too, pink clinozoisite from the Central Rhodopes, dravite and corundum of desilycated pegmatite in the region of Ihtiman, andalusite, corundum, tourmaline from the pegmatites of Markova Trapeza near to Samokov, kyanite from Seleshka Mountain, allanite (ortite), zircon of the Vacha pegmatites, vanadium pargasite, edenite and other amphiboles of metamorphites in the same area, prehnite from the pegmatites in Vitosha and Izgrev pluton and the Mt Lozen, tourmalines from the locality Tourmalinova Dupka and Marchaevsko Kale of Vitosha have been submitted for research and published by Vergilov and Kostova. Prof. M. Zhelyazkova-Panayotova gave to the museum some of the samples of the explanted ultrabasic rocks, containing chrome spindelids.
The collection consists of about 14000 samples including 8206 basic fund and around 5000 are in exchange and study fund. It is represented by 915 mineral species, 94 varieties and 13 groups of not well studied mineral species. Mineral species of the 13 mineralogical classes collected in the territories of 94 countries are presented, and there are 216 specimens from type localities and 204 mineral species from Bulgaria.
In the museum’s collections, part of the working scientific collections of Academician I. Kostov, Prof. Y. Mincheva-Stefanova, Prof. M. Zhelyazkova, Assoc. Prof. S. Petrussenko, Senior Research Associate L. Ratiev, Assoc. Prof. T. Radonova, as well as petrographic specimens from the collections of Academician S. Dimitrov and the Assistant Professor R. Ivanov. Museum collections include the collection of the first Bulgarian geologist Prof. G. Zlatarski, containing various minerals from European and Bulgarian fields.
For various reasons, the localities and points where the materials are collected are located in already mined and geological exploration sites or in inaccessible places, such as bottoms of large water dams. Some fields are partially or totally destroyed by unreasonable human interference, so the important role and task of museums today is the preservation of such specimens as valuable material for future comparative and revisional research.