Pallasites are not only rare, representing less than 0.2% of all known meteorites, they are also widely considered the most beautiful meteorites, and Imilac is among the most coveted. Like all pallasitic meteorites, Imilac originated from the mantle-core boundary of an asteroid that broke apart during the early history of our solar system. The crystals seen here are the result of small chunks of the stony mantle becoming suspended in the molten metal of an asteroid’s iron-nickel core. Cut and polished, the lustrous metallic matrix features crystals of gleaming olivine and peridot (gem-quality olivine) ranging in hues from emerald to amber. The crystalline structure of the iron nickel matrix is also in evidence. The pallasite designation for this meteorite class is in honor of the German scientist, Peter Simon Pallas, who while traveling through Siberia, examined the first pallasitic mass in the early 1770s. This is an honor Pallas is most fortunate to have received, for he fervently believed that the unusual specimen he examined could not possibly have come from outer space (but to be fair, at that time almost no one did). The meteorite from which this slice was cut was found in the Atacama Desert in the Andes, the oldest and highest desert on Earth.

Suspended in an iron-nickel matrix of an asteroid’s core, highly translucent olivine and peridot crystals, which originated from the asteroid’s mantle, are plentiful in this example of the most beautiful extraterrestrial substance known.

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.

131 x 129 x 3mm (5 x 5 x 0.1 in.) and 138.2g (0.33 lbs)
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