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The most beautiful extraterrestrial substances known are pallasites. They formed at the boundary of the stony mantle and molten core of an asteroid. Upon shattering following an impact with another asteroid, this “borderline” material became liberated, and a bit has landed on Earth. As one would then expect, pallasites are extremely rare and, indeed, they represent less than 0.2% of all known meteorites. The first Seymchan meteorites were found near a streambed in the Magadan district of Siberia — the location of Stalin’s infamous gulags. Most Seymchan meteorites are non-descript, prosaic masses until they are cut to reveal their splendor.

Given the amount of material lost during the grinding and polishing processes, to make a sphere of this size requires a mass nearly three times that of the sphere. A sphere provides a view of aspects of structure impossible to see in a flat surface, and now offered is a wondrous three-dimensional presentation of a pallasite — a specimen that can rightfully be considered an otherworldly crystal ball.

Dazzling crystals of olivine and peridot (birthstone of August) are seen to great effect in this three-dimensional presentation. The crystals appear to be suspended or floating in a metallic sea — an evocation not far afield from the actual case of its parent asteroid having been adrift in the void of interplanetary space. This specimen originates from a meteorite that underwent a number of stages of cutting, grinding and polishing.

Christie's would like to thank Dr. Alan E. Rubin at the Department of Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles for his assistance in preparing this catalogue.


69 mm. in diameter (2.75 in.) and 861.8g (2 lbs)

Please note this lot is the property of a private individual.
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