This is a meteorite specimen which originated at the interface of the molten iron core and stony mantle of an asteroid. Unusually aesthetic, this is a slab of a Seymchan transitional pallasite. A robust metallic crystalline pattern dominates the broad metallic face with a section of extraterrestrial olivine and peridot crystals providing color and asymmetric balance. Accents of schreibersite and iron-rich silicates are also seen. A thick band of the meteorite’s external surface runs the length of the specimen except for the cut surface at its bottom. Modern cutting.
125 x 169 x 46 mm. (5 x 6⅔ x 1¾ in.) and 3,815 g. (8.4 lbs.)

Representing less than 0.2% of all known meteorites, pallasites are the most beautiful extraterrestrial substance known. Like all pallasites, Seymchan formed at the boundary of the stony mantle and molten iron core of an asteroid that shattered following a collision with another asteroid. The crystals of olivine and peridot (gem-quality olivine) ranging in hues from emerald to amber seen here are the result of a chunk of the stony mantle becoming suspended in the molten metal of an asteroid’s iron-nickel core. The materials then cooled and crystallized. The prominent metallic latticework seen is referred to as a Widmanstätten pattern. It is evidence of a slow cooling rate that provided sufficient time — millions of years — for two metallic alloys to orient into their crystalline structure. This pattern is diagnostic in the identification of an iron meteorite and different iron meteorites have different patterns (see lots 1 and 34). It was in the 1960s that the first masses of Seymchan were found in a streambed in an area of Siberia made infamous as the remote location of Stalin’s gulags. Identified as meteorites, they were named Seymchan for a nearby town. This captivating specimen features a section of the metallic core of an asteroid having enmeshed and bonded with a section of its lower mantle — specifically, olivine and peridot .

Christie's would like to thank Dr. Alan E. Rubin at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles for his assistance in preparing this catalog note.

Macovich Collection of Meteorites, New York
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