Peridot, the gem quality version of the mineral olivine is sometimes known as the Evening Emerald or even the Poor Man's Emerald (see my past post). But it also has another moniker - the gemstone from outer space.

The reason is olivine is found in a type of stony iron meteorite called pallasites. These were named after the German naturalist Peter Simon Pallas who first identified a Siberian specimen in 1772. Pallasites are very rare - less than 1% of all meteorites are pallasites - and consist of approximately 50% olivine and peridot crystals and 50% nickel-iron. Only 61 are known to date, the vast majority were not observed falls. That these meteorites survived burning up in the atmosphere as they hurtled down to Earth is also remarkable.

A spectacular find in 2000 was the Fukang (Xinjiang Province, China) meteorite which originally weighed 1003 kg. Some of it has been whittled away to about 420 kg but the main chunk (above left) is now up for auction later this month at Bonhams in New York. It is expected to fetch $2 million. estimated that at an average price of $40 per gram, a potential buyer could break it apart into smaller pieces for sale and translate the investment to more than $17 million.

A jewelry forum member recently asked what she should do with a piece of meteorite (she didn't say what kind) she had been given. The suggestions she got were to wire wrap it. But she said the piece deserved some sort of framing and I think she is right. The above pallasite pendant from ScienceMall-USA, is made from a piece of a Russian pallasite. As you can see, it is beautifully framed with an intricate gold filigree. You can also buy smaller pieces of the Fukang pallasite from from this page before they are all gone. Perhaps irresistible for someone who likes a challenge and likes unusual materials?

Via gizmag
The Beading Gem's Journal