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Piece of moon, minerals trendy and collectible
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What would you pay for a piece
of a mineral fragment from the
While minerals have been
collected as decorative objects
beginning in antiquity, a new
spin includes meteorite minerals
chunks of metal and stone that
come in all shapes and sizes.
In rare cases, meteorites can
contain material older than the
solar system that experts say
formed 4.6 billion years ago.
Sure, they might be ugly compared
to minerals such as jade
and crystal, but small versions
are still displayed as art.
When meteorites sell at auction,
prices can be more than
a million dollars depending on
their size and history.
What turns a meteorite buyer
on? One thing is the thrill of
owning something possibly older
than the solar system. Others
love the crystalline, jewelry-look,
and turn them into everything
from jewelry to sculptures.
A Christies auction in London
offered the fifth-largest piece of
the moon, weighing 29 pounds.
It sold for 37,500 British pounds
($51,421.87 U.S. dollars.) At the
same auction, a two-inch by
one-inch moon fragment fetched
$30,000 more proof there is a
developing collector market for
metal and stone objects from
James Hyslop, head of the
science and natural history
department at Christies, London
auction Gallery, says interest
in meteorites rose dramatically
after the 1993 movie “Jurassic
Park,” which created a demand
for dinosaur fossils and other
“Moon rock is among the rarest
substances on earth, with less
than 650 kg. of lunar meteorites
known to exist,” Hyslop noted.
“Lunar meteorites arrived on
earth after having been blasted
off the lunar surface by the collision
with an asteroid or comet.
All of the moon’s large craters
were created by such impacts.
Earlier in August, at a Heritage
Auction in Dallas, a five-pound
chunk of Mars fetched $162,500.
The Chinese have been using
minerals such as jade and carnelian
as carved decorative, functional
and ceremonial objects for
centuries. Artisans have been
creating jewelry, sculptures and
petrified wood into works of art
ever since. In Victorian times
there were mother-of-pearl calling
card cases, malachite boxes
and marble specimen vases.
In the 1960s, craftsmen were
polishing slabs of petrified wood
and agate and mounting them
as sculptures. Petrified wood
specimens were imbedded into
tabletops. Mineral and fossil
specimens were turned into lamp
Minerals were used in 19th century
jewelry, but not in their
raw form. Using them in their
natural form, jagged edges and
all became popular in the 1970s;
pieces were created for Princess
Margaret by Andrew Grima, an
English designer specializing in
Many of the pieces mixed minerals
with precious metals. An
example is a Cartier fish brooch,
Paris circa 1900, combining gold,
tourmaline and aquamarine.
In the mid-20th century, lapidary
decorative accessories were
created as part of the studio art
CLUES: There are many
different types of objects in this
category to collect made from
minerals. Among them perfume
bottles, seashells, boxes, agate
slices, boxes, sculptures and raw
specimens. You never know when
a meteorite will turn up in your
Do you have an antique item and
need more information? For a personal
reply, send a photo, along with history,
size and any signatures with a
self-addressed, stamped envelope and
$25, to Anne Gilbert, 1811Renaissance
Commons Blvd., No. 2319, Boynton
Beach, FL 33426.
BY ANNE GILBERT
ARTISAN LIVING STORE
Petrified wood table