Beirut’s Minerals

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Salim Eddé, an engineer and graduate of the École Polytechnique, began in 1997 to put together a mineral collection like no other. Eddé’s story of success could be classified as one of the “Steve Jobs moments”, an idea hatched in a garage with personal funding of around $8,000 by Eddé and a college friend. Elias Eddé, Salim’s younger brother who was still in college, worked alongside the pair. Murex was born, and it is now one of the most successful software companies in the world and still very much a family business.

Salim Eddé’ s passion for minerals reflected a fascination with these naturally beautiful crystals, which arrange perfectly from the atomic to the macroscopic scale. Minerals are not only interesting for their aesthetic but also for their use in our every day life.

Eddé wanted to create a museum that was elegant, meaningful, educative, with the main focus being gorgeous minerals. With the help of Jean-Claude Boulliard, curator of the Sorbonne collection, they gathered over the last 16 years some of the most beautiful minerals. The museum offers a total of 1480 minerals (300 species) from 60 different countries, over 1300 m², of 9 galleries.

To enter the museum, one has to enter the gift shop. The museum itself is located on the basement, by the entrance of the University Saint Joseph. One can either take the mine elevator or the beautiful staircase to reach the basement.

From the main entrance, you enter the gallery area, through an impressive vaulted door. From now on darkness prevails, drawing attention uniquely to the minerals. A didactic circuit, accompanied by screens showing films and scientific applications of mineralogy, will reveal a world of unsuspected marvels, priceless both from an aesthetic and scientific point of view.

The MIM Museum is a private museum, financed by Eddé himself, where pieces originating from a number of renowned collections, both old and more recent, as well as from the major mining discoveries of our era are on display. It is now considered to be one of the world’s paramount private collections for the variety and quality of its minerals.

Underneath Beirut and her savage history in this exact location, lays a fortress with the most beautiful mineral collection in the world. To think that underneath it all, here on its green line, all the ugliness, the savagery of human being, the greed, the blind hatred, Beirut with its rough exterior is literally a gem on the inside. You can bash and drag her into wars she has no saying in, but inside her she is our rarest kind of mineral, like all those minerals on display, she stands silent reflecting all that is good and bright in the world.

Beirut is its own fissure, bubbling between the volcanic rocks of the socio political unrest it is surrounded with. Down into its bowels, past the heart, through the back she is digging for warmth in a soil heart. This Beirut that we love so, has opened itself to us, thanks to Salim Eddé, so we can discover her beauty on the inside out.

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