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The History Of Astro Gallery Of Gems

417 5th Avenue | Mon-Sat: 10am-8pm | Sun: 11am-7pm | 212-889-9000

The world’s largest gem and mineral gallery, Astro Gallery of Gems, is located in the heart of New York City's famous shopping district, Fifth Avenue, across from Lord and Taylor. Our 12,000 Square Foot showroom has thousands of minerals, gems, fossils and pieces of rare and unusual jewelry on display.

We have a long and rich company history, as we have been dealing in fine minerals since 1961. Through the years Astro Gallery has catered to clients like Salvador Dali, John Lennon, David Letterman, Goldie Hawn and Cameron Diaz and always remained a vanguard of the industry. We carry specimens suitable for the novice as well as the most advanced collector. We have everything from tumbled stones to 2000 pound Amethyst geodes. 

Visit us at our flagship store in New York City where you will be amazed at the wonders of Nature and be able to touch the finest of specimens the Earth has ever produced. 


Astro Gallery of Gems has been family owned and operated since its founding in 1961. Its founder, Julio Tanjeloff, was a successful businessman in Buenos Aires, Argentina, amassing a huge fortune in construction and mining (lead and ornamental rhodochrosite) before his properties were expropriated by the Peron regime during the 1950’s.  

By 1961, Julio had emigrated to New York City with his family to start to rebuild the empire he left behind in Argentina. Having become infatuated by minerals, he truly believed a market could exist for high-end collectible specimens with which affluent customers could adorn their homes and offices.


The Original Astro

In this vision, he opened the spectacular Astro Gallery of Gems and Minerals in 1963. The operation quickly grew into a stunningly lavish 16,000 square foot establishment that drew mineral collectors, gem collectors, celebrities, politicians, interior decorators, architects, and designers.














Mineral Digest

In 1970, Julio Tanjeloff began publishing Mineral Digest to initially promote and educate the public on gems, minerals and his overall business ventures.  At it's time, The Mineral Digest was unlike any other retail magazine.  It's bold colors, heavy enamel-coated paper, rich illustrations and reinforced bindings made it the most extravagantly lavish mineral magazine in history.  This award winning publication captivated serious collectors and amateur mineralogists alike.

Though Mineral Digest ran for only eight widely spaced issues, it still ranks as the most extravagant mineral periodical of all time and is credited with teaching the public much about the lore and legend of minerals.





Around 1967, gem grade blue zoisiste was discovered in Tanzania, and Julio was the first person to bring the crystal into the United States. Calling his new find Tanjeloffite, Julio proudly displayed his eponymous rock for sale throughout his stores. In a famous dispute with retailer Tiffany & Company, rather than use the name Tanjeloffite for the stone, Tiffany & Company marketed the rock under the moniker Tanzanite. The latter name stuck. It wasn’t until 2008, when the mineralogical record was amended to include the lesser known name, Tanjeloffite, as an official name of the stone, that Tanjeloff was properly honored.






Despite the dispute with Tiffany’s, business continued to grow; growing from just one store to an empire of over twenty Astro Gallery retail outlets in various department stores across the country. Julio also expanded his business streams, acquiring George Jensen boutiques, Cartier Wholesale Division, Mark Cross Ltd Wholesale, Klein’s department Store and Blum’s Department Store. 

During this period, the total business was generating more than $35 million in annual sales as well as employing of 400 workers.

Over-extension and financial problems forced Julio to eventually pare everything down to his core business - gems and minerals. 









In 1988, Julio unexpectedly passed away of a sudden heart attack. His grandson, Dennis, who had worked closely in the family business since a very young age, had joined full time to help run the company with his father. 

Dennis had been involved in the family business since the age of four, when his grandfather began to bring the young Dennis with him around the world finding, buying, and selling minerals, gems, fossils, and related objects of art for the company. Their travels also took them to inspect the numerous exhibitions and retail stores operated by Astro Minerals around the country, where Dennis and his grandfather would check in on staff and operations. His passion for minerals was already ossified by his teenage years, when he began to take a more formal role at Astro, working summers and weekends in the gallery, learning all aspects of the business and demonstrating a keen ability to absorb the more than forty years of mineralogical business experience his grandfather had accumulated.

























Madison Avenue

By 1992, the Tanjeloff's moved into 185 Madison Avenue, a 6,000 square foot, bi-level fine mineral gallery, located across the street from the "iconic" Empire State Building.   During this time, the gallery grew into a staple of New York Natural History and began to be known as the "World's Largest Gallery of Gems and Minerals".


Dennis succeeded his father as president of the company in 1996 and has been running all aspects of the operation since then. He began to diversify revenue streams and continued to be a visionary, just as his grandfather was before him. 

By 2004, Dennis had re-invented Astro Gallery from a retail gallery to a worldwide mineralogical powerhouse - advising and curating top collections and museums, running a vibrant online business, participating in mining investments and other related businesses.

When the global economy collapsed in 2008, and many high net worth collectors began to slow their purchasing frequency, Astro Gallery began to pursue new markets.


Astro Kids

In 2009, in a partnership with Toys R Us, Astro Kids was opened at the world-wide Toys R Us Flagship store in Times Square, providing natural science products like tumble stones, shark teeth, and fossils to a continuing deluge of excited children. After overwhelming success, a second Astro Kids location was opened at world famous FAO Schwartz during Christmas 2010, where it successfully operated until the store's historic closing in 2015.




Astro Moves to Fifth Avenue






After 20 years in the Madison Avenue location, Dennis had a vision of opening a larger, more "iconic" storefront on Manhattan's world-famous Fifth Avenue shopping district - across the street from the historic Lord & Taylor building.  In 2012, Astro Gallery of Gems opened at 417 Fifth Avenue - a 12,000 square foot natural history mecca for Natural History collectors and hobbyists. 

Astro Gallery has been and remains one of the foremost and respected collectible gem and mineral voices in the world. Astro Gallery has transformed itself beyond just a retail gallery. Dennis Tanjeloff has made his mark at Astro Gallery by putting more of the business’ focus on courting serious collectors looking for unique, top-quality, specimens. Over recent years, Astro Gallery has been instrumental in advising and curating multi-million dollar collections for the most accomplished collectors and natural history museums worldwide.

Visit Astro Gallery Today!

Haven't had a chance to visit Astro Gallery in person? Scroll below for a peek inside our 5th Avenue flagship store!