The Mineralogical Record
The Mineralogical Record - Join us on Facebook!  The Mineralogical Record - Sign up for our newsletter

Godehard Schwethelm

Godehard Schwethelm was born in Erfurt, Germany on February 14, 1899, the son of Wilhelm Schwethelm, an architect and contractor. He studied architecture at the Technical University in Darmstadt and the Technical University in Stuttgart, then began his architectural career as an employee of the architect Thilo Schoder. He later worked in Merseyside, Berlin and Munich, and was responsible for the construction on many buildings of different types. One focus was the construction of large hospital complexes, including the pediatric facility in Harzgerode and the Deaconess Mutterhaus-Neuvandsburg in Elbingerode. He distinguished himself by a very clear style and careful planning of details in the interior and exterior. Later he and his partners designed modern large-scale projects such as the Grosshadern Clinic in Munich.

In 1962, during a recreational holiday traveling through Canton Graubünden, Schwethelm happened to see an exhibition of minerals in Pontresina. Inspired by the variety of colors and shapes, he decided to begin collecting minerals. He purchased the mineral collection of Robert Metzger from Vienna, which then formed the foundation of his own collection. Schwethelm lived many years in Munich, before moving into a modern villa in Kastanienbaum at Vierwaldstättersee in Switzerland. In this house the entire basement was magnificently designed and dedicated to the display of his minerals. His collection eventually grew to over 6,500 specimens, many of them of excellent display quality, and many quite large.

Schwethelm died in Lucerne, Switzerland on July 28, 1992. A large portion of his collection was sold, but his widow, Ruth Schwethelm, retained the remainder until shortly before her own death in November 2004. She donated the collection to the Natural History Museum in his home town of Erfurt. There a permanent exhibition consisting of 12 showcases, entitled "Treasures of the Mineral Kingdom," opened in May 2004; the displays feature the best specimens from his collection, giving an idea of the beauty and the variety of shapes and colors that can be found in Minerals.

RIEDEL, G.-R. (2004) Die Sammlung Schwethelm - Kostbarkeiten aus dem Mineralreich. Publications of the Natural History Museum, Erfurt, Volume 23, p. 226.
To contribute more information please E-mail us at:

[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
Biographical Archive, at]
Click on thumbnail picture to see larger image.
Number of labels found: 4 | Labels being viewed: 1 to 4

The Mineralogical Record - Godehard Schwethelm Godehard Schwethelm
The Mineralogical Record - Godehard Schwethelm Part of the Schwethelm Collection exhibit at the Natural History Mueum of Erfurt
The Mineralogical Record - Godehard Schwethelm 30 x 56 mm
The Mineralogical Record - Godehard Schwethelm 30 x 56 mm
Contents copyright © 2019 The Mineralogical Record, Inc. All rights reserved.  
Graphic design of this website by Wendell E. Wilson. Website programming by