Details
This is a complete slice of a meteorite with extraterrestrial gems. Pallasites are not only rare, representing less than 0.2% of all known meteorites, they are also widely considered the most beautiful extraterrestrial substance known. Like nearly all pallasitic meteorites, Seymchan originated from the mantle-core boundary of an asteroid that shattered following a cataclysmic collision. The crystals seen here are the result of small chunks of an asteroid’s stony mantle becoming suspended in its molten metal core. Cut and polished, the lustrous metallic matrix features crystals of gleaming olivine and peridot (gem-quality olivine) ranging in hues from chartreuse to amber. It was in the 1960s that the first masses of Seymchan were found in a streambed in a part of Siberia made infamous as the remote location of Stalin’s gulags. Identified as meteorites, they were named Seymchan for a nearby town. Unlike most pallasites, the percentage, as well as the dispersion, of olivine crystals in Seymchan can be markedly varied. As Seymchan reveals the transitions of mixing of materials, it is referred to as a rare transitional pallasite.

The example now offered boasts an animated array of olivine and its gem-quality counterpart, peridot, the birthstone of August, seemingly swirling within its matrix — precisely as could be expected at the interface of two different materials. Translucent olivine and peridot crystals are largely chartreuse-hued. This complete slice evidences the crystalline structure of its iron matrix on the front and back. Emulating the style of museum presentation of a century ago, a quarter-inch band of the perimeter was masked and is not etched. Modern cutting 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.

181 x 127 x 3mm (7 x 5 x 0.1 in.) and 237g (0.5 lbs)

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