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#1 Kerig3

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 03:44 PM

I love space rocks, I watch Meteorite Men devotedly, and have even inherited a few pieces from my father. Were I a richer man I would probably be investing in this hobby to start my own collection.

But today I simply want to buy an inexpensive meteorite pendant to wear as a conversation starter. I've done enough research over the last few days to know that buying meteorites from ebay can be a sketchy endeavor, but it's been just about the only place I've found pendants that I can afford ($20-$35 range). Most are touted as Campo del Cielo rocks, but in this price range I'm finding that you won't get a whole lot, if any, documentation with it (one seller offered an email COA). I would hate to buy one and not be able to confidently tell everyone who asks that it's a real space rock when it could have a good chance of being a fake. :(

I then noticed that some of the Campo del Cielo pendants had a weird-looking flat end that didn't look like any sort of saw cut I've seen in my research. These looked like someone made their own meteorites on a cookie sheet! Some more research told me that those are actually "Campo Crystals" that were broken into smaller pieces using liquid nitrogen. Is this true? Is this a normal practice and does the result lessen it any as a "rock from space"? I just want to avoid buying a "meteorite" that has such an obvious chance of being fake that I should avoid it at ALL costs.

Here are some examples of what I was looking at from 3 different vendors:

Here's an example of the flat sided meteorite

And another...

Another Campo del Cielo Pendant

Here's a Sikhote-Alin Pendant

Am I wasting my time? I want to have a better-than-fair chance that what'll be dangling from my neck isn't just some out of work metal-worker's skill being used to make an easy dollar (or $20+). :(

Any help is very much appreciated! :jump:

#2 sealevel

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 07:22 PM

Hi Kerig,
Your first three links are legitimate dealers. Flatoprocks is Mike Miller - http://www.meteoritefinder.com/

I don't know e-bay seller - butw (12953). When purchasing meteorites on e-bay always look for the IMCA member logo or member reference number - http://imca.cc/index...sList&Itemid=11

IMCA members are the best in the business. You can always buy with confidence with that endsorement. I hope this helps.

Note: I was born and raised in Chicago Heights. Our next door neighbor city is "Park Forest".


Davio R.



Park Forest meteorite data - http://www.lpi.usra.....php?code=18106

Encyclopedia of Meteorites (EoM) - http://www.encyclope...ollections.aspx

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#3 Kerig3

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 08:50 PM

Hi Davio,
Thanks for that info! It sets my mind at ease. I knew about the IMCA members, but most of these cheaper rock auctions didn't mention whether they were a member or not. This threw me. :lol:

BTW, in 1996 we moved from Park Forest to the western 'burbs. Our Park Forest house had been 8 houses down (we were on Herndon and Indiana) from the house that got hit through the roof (I believe that's the Garza stone?), which was on our block. No doubt my old backyard had been picked through and still wonder if anything was found there. Weird how things work out, LOL. :smirk:

What do you know about "Campo crystals", those stones with that flat side?

Thanks again for the help. :waytogo:

-Kerig

#4 peter scherff

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 06:17 AM

Hi Kerig,

I often give away Campo crystals. Here is the info I include with each meteorite:
Meteorite from
Campo del Cielo, Argentina

These iron meteorites were first shown to Spanish
Conquistadors in 1576, by native inhabitants of the region. The area where the meteorites are found is called “Field of Heaven” (Campo del Cielo in Spanish). It is believed that the native people witnessed the meteorite shower 5,000 years ago and named the area after the meteorites. The largest meteorite from this shower is about 10 feet tall and weighs 37 tons and is still in Argentina.
This meteorite is an Iron meteorite. It is 93% iron, 6% nickel with and 1% trace elements. Your sample of Campo del Cielo is known as a “shattered crystal”. Shattered crystals are produced when a large meteorite is super cooled then fractured. The pieces are then polished.

Some of the meteorites do have flat sides. The flat areas are natural crystal faces.

Peter

#5 sealevel

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 08:18 AM

Hi Davio,
Thanks for that info! It sets my mind at ease. I knew about the IMCA members, but most of these cheaper rock auctions didn't mention whether they were a member or not. This threw me. :lol:

BTW, in 1996 we moved from Park Forest to the western 'burbs. Our Park Forest house had been 8 houses down (we were on Herndon and Indiana) from the house that got hit through the roof (I believe that's the Garza stone?), which was on our block. No doubt my old backyard had been picked through and still wonder if anything was found there. Weird how things work out, LOL. :smirk:

What do you know about "Campo crystals", those stones with that flat side?

Thanks again for the help. :waytogo:

-Kerig


Hi Kerig,
In the mystical world of crystals different geometric shapes have different powers, so I've been told. In the world of the pure sciences they are nothing more than geometric shapes found in nature, including meteorites. The Campo del Cielo (that you saw for sale) is a IAB-MG coarse octahedrite. This means it's crystalline structure has an octahedron lattice structure at the atomic level. It is basically 2 - four sided pyramids stuck together at their bases (see diagram). This is also know as twinning. In the psychic world this structure has some sort of "crystal" power. Some gem, and unfortunately meteorite dealers, promote their specimens using the word "crystal(s)". This sometimes confuses people. However, meteorites do have crystalline structure. If octahedrons have power, and if you're a psychic, the Campo del Cielo is for you. Personally I have never seen an octahedrite meteorite that was found in its naturally occurring atomic octahedron form. I do know you can artificially cut one from a cube, the most basic form of a octahedron.

Note: All Geology undergraduates take a crystallography course prior to or along side their mineralogy and petrology courses. Today it's x-ray diffraction crystallography and less the basic geometrical oriented diagramatical crystallography.


Davio R.

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#6 csa/montana

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 09:59 AM

Were I a richer man I would probably be investing in this hobby to start my own collection.



One nice thing about a meteorite collection, is that you don't have to invest a lot of money. I'm on a fixed income, and have a collection that I have built up, after a friend sent me 6 metorites.

Most of my collection are micro, that can be purchased for about $5.

#7 Kerig3

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 05:05 PM

Some of the meteorites do have flat sides. The flat areas are natural crystal faces.


Thanks Peter, that's the info I was looking for! :waytogo:
I was just concerned why some of those Campo pendants that were being sold on ebay had a somewhat flat side. A google search only turned up one mention of these meteorites being super-cooled and shattered into smaller pieces. This info was found on another message forum so I wasn't sure whether it was true or not, so I thought I would find out the real story here on CN where some of the smartest people on the planet meet! :grin:

I'm not really into all that hocus-pocus crystal "powers" stuff...I just wanted a nice meteorite, a rock from space, that I could wear around my neck!

Carol, maybe I'll start a collection after all, once I sell a few scopes that I promised my wife I would (it's just so hard to let them go, lol). I wish the meteorites that I had inherited from my father had some sort of identification with them, but that's how he bought them back in the early 60's. I had a discussion with him last weekend about the importance of having a certificate of authenticity, which I found out about during my research and which he wasn't aware of. Last year my father purchased a Canyon Diablo meteorite from the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art and as far as he knew it came with nothing but the stand it sits on. It sounded odd to me that his meteorite would have been sold without any ID by such a reputable lapidary museum. :confused: :shrug:

Thanks again for everyone's help!

#8 peter scherff

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 06:14 AM

Hi,
Here is a photo of a Gibeon crystal.

Peter

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#9 csa/montana

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 10:54 AM

Carol, maybe I'll start a collection after all,



Kerig; I know you would enjoy collecting them. You can do as little or as much as you feel comfortable with.

I used my old aquarium to house my collection. I started with 6, that a dear friend gave me; and bit by bit added to it. The maximum I've paid for any one meteorite, is $40. This way, I can have a nice assortment. Granted they are very small, but nonetheless; they are meteorites!

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#10 csa/montana

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 10:56 AM

Our Park Forest house had been 8 houses down



Hearing your personal history with Park Forest, I'm going to add one to my collection!

#11 Kerig3

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 10:08 PM

Carol, thanks for sharing your wonderful collection. It's impressive what you've been able to obtain affordably, which has really inspired me! :waytogo:

I bought this Sikhote-Alin in a pendant mount (wearing it right now) just before my 7 year-old computer breathed its last breath. So until I've set up my doppelganger replacement iBook that I received yesterday, my meteorite search is on hold. The little netbook I'm using right now sure wasn't made for my older eyes! :crazyeyes:

But before I start my own collecting, can anyone recommend the best site to learn about the different types of meteorites? (I did check the sticky links here) I guess I could just collect stones for their individual look, but it would be nice to educate myself about all the different types.

#12 peter scherff

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 05:56 AM

Hi Kerig,

Here is a link to a good book. The best part is that it is a free pdf download:
Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites by Norton

Peter

#13 Kerig3

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:36 PM

Hi Kerig,

Here is a link to a good book. The best part is that it is a free pdf download:
Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites by Norton

Peter


Wow, that's sweet!
Thanks Peter, now I really can't wait to get my new laptop running! :jump:

#14 csa/montana

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 11:32 PM

You're welcome! I really enjoy meteorites. As I mentioned it doesn't cost a lot to start a collection, adding to it as you can.

Sorry about your computer; that always puts a kink in one's plans.

#15 christinam

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 11:38 AM

Hi Peter

I can get the first chapter to download for free but for subsequent chapters it says you have to pay....is this everyone's experience with this book? It looks very interesting and I would love to read the rest.

Chris

#16 peter scherff

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Posted 23 September 2012 - 12:09 PM

Hi Chris,

Sorry, I never tried to download it. And yes it is an excellent book.

Peter

#17 JacobiteJake

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 11:35 AM

Hi Kerig, I realise the reply is a little late but I couldn't help but notice your post regarding the Campo del Cielo crystals and questioning whether or not they are real or fake.

You are not the only one that has suspected something is wrong with some of these so called 'meteorites', sorry, 'Crystals'. There seems to be more and more of these being fed into the market that resemble home-made blobs that, as you mention, look like they've been created on a baking sheet.

The story that these have been created by shattering a larger specimen by super cooling and then polished is frankly obsurd. I accept that there are some 'crystals' of meteorite samples that have been created in this way and yes, they are then polished. The samples you are referring to though do not look or even remotely resemble these as the majority of these 'mass produced' lumps are nothing more than metal souvenirs, and I use the term metal in the broadest of terms.

I personally would stay well clear of anything that looks like it's been poured onto a surface and also the formation looks as though it was created from a thick lumpy liquid as it was cooling and forming into the shape you see. Those shapes would not be formed from the effect of shattering, no matter how much they were polished.

On a good note, there are many excellent dealers out there, selling fine examples of the Campo del Cielo meteorite and also genuine crystal examples. Just make sure you take a good close look before you invest.

For those dealers that are not happy with this post, may I suggest you upload a video to youtube of the full, and I mean full, process of creating these so called crystals, right down to the finished, polished specimen so the uneducated can then trust that what they are being offered for sale is the real thing. I suspect, that in time, with the eventual application of common sense by the consumer, many of these 'souvenirs' will be put back in the melting pot, hopefully.

#18 Glassthrower

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 08:53 PM

I'm with Jake here - I have seen some suspect iron meteorite "crystals" on the market that don't look quite right. They are blobby and have odd shapes that remind me of welding flux that has dropped or splashed and then cooled. I am not saying this is the case, but the look reminded me of that.

There are many dealers who have the genuine crystals - which are not crystals, they are fragments that shattered along the plate boundaries of the kamacite and taenite bands. Campo is a coarse octahedrite with thick bands and it is cheap to acquire, so they are ideal candidates for this process. The motivation for fraud is minimal because they don't sell for much, but nowadays anything can be suspect. My best piece of advice is to post a link to any suspect material you see and all of us here will take a look and let you know if it is legit or not. Many of us have been around a while and know most of the sellers. Although, eBay is a minefield of potential fraud and new sellers come and go frequently, so we may not know the newest sellers yet.

Best regards,

MikeG

#19 Glassthrower

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 08:56 PM

PS - many legit dealers are not IMCA members. IMCA and Meteoritical Society memberships are generally a safe bet for authenticity. But, lack of those credentials doesn't necessarily mean the dealer is not reliable. Some of us, me included, just choose not to participate in clubs and the politics that come with some of them. :)

#20 lee14

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 02:34 PM

Let me state first off that I consider "Campo Crystals" an abomination. That said, I'd like to point out that your assessment of their production involving liquid nitrogen as 'obsurd', and inviting a dealer to show a video of the production process is more than a bit naive. While I have no doubt that there are fakes out there, it is unfair to assume that most 'Campo Crystals' are not genuine. I do object to the term 'crystal' in this application, although it might be technically accurate (barely), it is used as a marketing term, not a scientific one. A more appropriate description would be 'Campo fragment'.

An examination of any etched Campo clearly shows that the kamacite and taenite are not distributed as linear arrangements at all. While the base structures are cubes and octahedrons, coarse octahedrites show an amorphous blend of shapes, obvious in an etched piece, but apparent even in a cut sample before etching. It is along these random lines that the stones will fracture, this can readily occur at room temperature, though it happens more easily with a slice than a whole specimen. So, I have no difficulty at all believing that most of these so-called crystals are indeed shattered Campos.

As a practical matter, it is far easier to immerse a Campo in liquid nitrogen and whack it with a sledgehammer, than it is to melt even ordinary iron and pour out little pieces onto a surface and have them look anything like a meteorite. The fragments can be smoothed any number of ways; wire brushing, sand blasting, or tumbling, to create the desired smoothed surface. This process is easier and cheaper than cutting a specimen into slices for etching, and is no doubt why the practice seems to have become popular. One only has to take a look at a couple of dealers who sell large amounts of Campos, and often have the 'crystals' for sale as well. They're not going to the extreme effort of forging fakes from terrestrial iron, they're butchering Campo material they already have (and as Mike says, is relatively cheap), probably plain, less attractive specimens that wouldn't bring as much as a nicely regmaglypted piece would if sold whole.

Let me reiterate, I am no fan of 'Campo Crystals', and would neither sell nor buy them. Most of the dealers on ebay are as legitimate as any other class of seller. If you see someone with only a few feedbacks, or too many negative ones no matter how big they are, that seller is best avoided. And yes, although the IMCA looks nice on your website, it is a marketing tool as well, and just because it is lacking is no indication of a dealer's reliability.

Lee






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