Pallasites are not only rare, representing less than 0.2% of all known meteorites, they are also widely considered the most dazzling otherworldly substance known — and samples of Fukang are among the most coveted. Recovered in China’s Gobi Desert, Fukang contains some of the largest and most translucent crystals of any pallasite, which represent the mantle-core boundary of an asteroid that broke apart after a catastrophic collision with a second asteroid. Crystals of olivine and peridot (gem-quality olivine) from the mantle are suspended in an iron-nickel matrix that had been part of the asteroid’s molten core.

The term pallasite is in honor of the German scientist, Peter Pallas, who while traveling through Siberia, examined the first pallasitic mass in the early 1770s. This is an honor Pallas is fortunate to have received, for he believed the unusual specimen he examined could not possibly have come from outer space — but to be fair, he lived at a time when most scientists did not believe rocks could fall out of the sky (see lot 19).

In a presentation that enhances Fukang’s allure, this specimen is cut and polished to a mirror finish on three faces. The meteorite’s exterior surface is seen on the reverse in this select end wedge of the most beautiful extraterrestrial substance known. 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.

50 x 53 x 43mm (2 x 2 x 1.66 in.) and 150.0g (0.33 lbs)
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