Tektites and Meteorites: A Brief Introduction To Extraterrestrial Gems and Metals
Moldavite, Libyan Desert Glass, and other gems and metals of extraterrestrial origin, such as meteorites, have been getting a lot of attention recently, and we are pleased to offer some of these treasures in the shop right now. We get a lot of questions about them, so let’s talk about some of the basics.
What is a tektite?
A tektite is a meteoric glass. It is part of a larger family known as impactites, which also includes impact breccia and shatter cones, Tektites are seen in a variety of different colors, such as black, green, gold, or brown, and are typically gravel-sized. They can be found in at least 5 different areas on the earth, and certain colors are found in only one location.
We don’t have a complete understanding just yet of how the glass of a tektite forms, but the general consensus is that they occur when a meteor or asteroid impacts the earth’s surface in an area where the bedrock is rich in silica or meta-sediment. Earth material is melted just prior to impact by a highly compressed area of hot air in front of the meteorite and then ejected high into the atmosphere. At the moment of the meteor’s impact, a powerful explosion occurs, and tektites are formed in the vacuum bubble created as the atmosphere is torn apart by the explosion. Earth material and cosmic material fuse together, and as it cools, tektites rain back down to earth.
Moldavite is probably the best-known tektite, due to its stunning green color. It is often used as a gemstone in jewelry and is highly collectible and sought after. This tektite is believed to be about 14.7 million years old and is found in the Czech Republic. Moldavite is associated with the Ries impact crater in Germany, located nearly 300 miles from where moldavites are found. It received the name moldavite in 1787, but people have been gathering and using moldavites since the Stone Age. Because of its rarity and high demand, it is one of the most counterfeited stones on the market today!
Libyan Desert Glass
Sometimes called Libyan Gold Tektite, Libyan Desert Glass is almost as sought after as moldavite. It is found in the remote western desert of Egypt—the “Great Sea of Sand.” Also used in ancient times, it was found among items recovered from King Tutankhamen’s tomb: in the center of a gold and jewel-encrusted breastplate sits a scarab carved from Libyan desert glass. At 29 million years old, it is about twice as ancient as moldavite. It is comprised of almost pure silica, which would have been formed at extremely high temperatures around 3000 degrees Fahrenheit. Although no specific impact site has been identified in relation to this tektite yet, the recent discovery of the presence of a mineral called reidite confirms that it could have only formed during a meteorite impact.
Darwinite tektite, or Darwin glass is found only around Mt. Darwin, south of Queenstown on the west coast of Tasmania, Australia, and is associated with the Darwin crater. It is, relatively speaking, rather young at 0.8 million years old. Darwin glass was known to have been carried and used by the Aboriginal People for at least 12,000 years, and the earliest use of it dates back to nearly 30,000 years ago. It is typically a dark gray green color, but can also be found in white, black and light green. Like moldavite and Libyan gold tektite, it is somewhat rare.
This variety of tektite is distinctly black or very dark brown in color, and is the most common of all the tektites. The strewn field for these tektites is enormous, said to extend over 20% of the earth’s eastern hemisphere and they are found in many areas around southeast Asia and Australia. The impact crater has not been identified, but is now believed to be located beneath a large volcanic field located in southern Laos. These tektites are reported to be just shy of 800,00 years old.
What are some of the metaphysical attributes of tektites?
In general, tektites are known as powerful stones of transformation, and are said to bring shifts in consciousness, insight and inspiration quickly to those working with them. They also have additional properties based on their unique composition and where they come from.
While some people like the idea of a fast-acting agent of change in their lives, others prefer things a bit slower and less harsh. Of the different types of tektites, moldavite is said to be the most potent energetically. Some of the black tektites, such as indochinite may be easier to work with and worth considering if you feel moldavite is too much.
If working with tektites is for you, it is recommended to use a grounding stone along with them, such as hematite. If the energy seems too intense, it’s ok to stop working with it for awhile and go back to it later, if and when you feel drawn to do so.
Meteorites: extraterrestrial stones and metals
Most meteorites that fall to earth come from the Asteroid Belt. They can vary greatly in size, and we currently know of around 60,000 well-documented meteorite finds. There are three basic categories: stony (rock) meteorites, iron meteorites, and stony iron meteorites. Below are a few of the different meteorites we’ve had in the shop either as jewelry or raw pieces. The energy of nickel-iron meteorites can be very grounding, and they have been said to be beneficial for physical wellbeing, potentially activate Kundalini energy and are also said to help facilitate spiritual awakening.
Campo del Cielo
Campo del Cielo means “Field of the Sky,” and what a perfect name it is! There have been at least 26 craters found in the impact area in Argentina, which suggests the meteor broke into pieces upon entering earth’s atmosphere. The age of the meteor is estimated to be about 4.5 billion years old, and formed as our solar system was developing. The meteor fell somewhere between 4200 – 4700 years ago.
The Muonionalusta meteorite, named for the area in northern Scandinavia where it was found, is likely the oldest known meteorite and is said to be around 4.57 billion years old. The impact occurred around one million years ago during the Quaternary period on earth, and it has weathered four ice ages. It is classified as a fine octahedrite, type IVA. Octahedrites are the most common type of iron meteorites, and display beautiful Widmanstätten patterns (also known as Thomson structures) of intersecting geometric-looking lines. This occurs because of the long cooling time of the inside of the asteroid.
The Gibeon meteorite is made up of iron-nickel alloy with significant amounts of cobalt and phosphorus and is also classified as a fine octahedrite. It formed in space around 4 billion years ago and fell in Namibia, Africa in prehistoric times. This meteorite was first discovered by the Nama people who used the metal to make tools and weapons.
A final word about fakes
Unfortunately, as with many high-demand, rare items, there are often fakes out there in the marketplace. We have seen both fake meteorites and tektites for sale out there, so it’s always a good idea to do some research to understand how you can potentially avoid purchasing one. Moldavite is one of the most often faked stones currently but has certain physical characteristics that confirm its authenticity if you know what to look for.
Additionally, moldavite can oftentimes be felt when held for a few minutes—even by people who are not typically sensitive to the energy of stones. Some people feel a sort of electrical charge, a sense of heat or flush, or a pulse while holding moldavite.
It is good to be aware there are other materials such as obsidian (a type of natural volcanic glass) being advertised and sold under names like Columbianite, Saffordite (also known as Arizonaite), Healdsburgite, Philippine Amerikanite, and possibly others. Meteorite experts refer to these as “pseudotektites.” They have physical characteristics that make them look like tektites, but testing proves they are something else. All tektites come from the strewn field of an impact crater, and these are well documented.
We hope this has given you some solid, basic info about these amazing extraterrestrial gems!
About Evolve For Inner Peace
A spiritual store supporting overall wellness for mind, body, and spirit. Find gifts to reawaken your spirit; meaningful, inspirational gifts such as stones, geodes and crystals, incense, oils and aromatherapy products, metaphysical and spiritual books, unique jewelry from local artists, yoga and meditation supplies, singing bowls, gongs and sound healing tools, original artwork, eclectic decor items, statues and more. We offer a beautiful collection of items that will fill your heart and remind you of the innate goodness in ourselves and in all beings. We also offer classes, workshops, and sessions of various types in our beautiful downstairs area and upstairs studio spaces. Stay tuned for updates on current offerings and modifications due to COVID-19 protocols.