Our antiques expert Allan Blackburn looks at some "out of this world" collectables...
A truly momentous anniversary is approaching. It’s the 50th anniversary of the moon landings.
What ‘giant steps’ were you taking on 20th July 1969? I certainly can’t remember – but this did get me to thinking about genuinely ‘out of this world’ collectables.
How about a bit of moon rock? Virtually priceless, sadly all trade in rock recovered directly from the moon by the American and Soviet lunar missions is strictly illegal, and anyone daring to advertise the few pieces that have been stolen over the years (or forgeries) has been swiftly tracked and prosecuted. Even Neil Armstrong and co. weren’t permitted to keep a sliver of moon rock for themselves!
Moon rocks falling to earth as lunar meteorites are legally available, but costly. With only about 40kg of known lunar meteorite in the world, prices start at around £80 for a 5mm sliver, and fakes are common.
Meteorites don’t just come from the moon; if you like the idea of owning something millions of years old which has travelled billions of miles across the galaxy, small parts of non-lunar meteorites (from comets or asteroids) are widely available online, and cheaper than moon rock.
Meteorites are culturally and scientifically fascinating to collect, plus beautiful to display. Made up of minerals, silicates, metals and molten glass, they can even be made into jewellery. Astral versions of minerals we have here on earth can form parts of meteorites, including peridot and black diamonds.
We are lucky to have a regular supply of quality authenticated crystals and minerals, including terrestrial and celestial. Pictured is a sample of pieces, prices range from £5 to around £50.
Some of the most beautiful ‘meteorite’ crystals are actually by-products of meteors hitting the earth, melting the surrounding earth minerals into new, glassy crystalline structures. These are called tektites (from the Greek ‘tektos’, meaning molten), or impactites.
One of the most attractive tektites is Moldavite, an olive green crystal formed as a result of an asteroid hitting what is now the Czech Republic 15 million years ago.
Nicely-set Moldavite jewellery ranges from £40 or so to several hundred pounds, not too astronomical for a bit of bling that’s truly out of this world.