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Lables/ID marks on meteorites?

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#1 molniyabeer

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 01:46 PM

Ok, now that I've built a small collection of perhaps 30-35 specimens, I'm at the stage where I need to put some sort of permanent ID mark on them so I can keep them sorted out. For ordinary mineral specimens, I've used tiny computer-printed ID numbers that I cut and glue to the sample in an inconspicuous spot. I am thinking of doing the same with my meteorites.

Question: Is there another preferred or recommended method of makring meteorites other than gluing a lable on? Anyone see a potential pitfall to this approach?

I personally like obtaining samples from other collections that are makred in some (neatly done) way along with collection info. To me, having some history with the sample adds to its appeal.

Thoughts?

Cheers,

#2 LivingNDixie

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 02:43 PM

I have a meteorite that has a number painted on it I believe. There is a company that makes little meteorite nametags (kinda like a one for a desk but smaller). If you look at the old meteorite thread, a picture of a Gold Basin that I posted has one of those little signs. Maybe that will work?

#3 molniyabeer

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 02:58 PM

Preston,

Thanks for the suggestion. However, what I am looking for is the best way to neatly mark the samples themselves. That way, if they should be separated from their ID card I can still tell which piece it is. That's especially important to me since I plan on taking parts of the collection to astronomy outreach events and gem/mineral shows.

I've seen the painted on numbers on older mineral samples, too, but early attempts years ago on some samples convinced me that 1) the surfaces are too rough to write on and 2) my handwriting is nowhere near good enough! Hence the printed lable idea.

Clear skies.

#4 Glassthrower

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 03:41 PM

Hi Steve,

Here's my take on labels.

I prefer not to mark the specimen itself in any way. I treat them like eyepieces when it comes to handling and such. I used to keep my eyepieces in labelled bolt cases. Of course, each eyepiece was also labelled with the focal length, but it was easy to keep two or three from getting mixed up because they looked different enough. So even if I had a few out at one time, I knew exactly which case they went back into. I treat meteorites the same way. My larger specimens have their own dedicated display case with a label and since I don't have too many large specimens, it's easy not to confuse them with each other. My smaller specimens is another story - I have tons of them. I keep them in labelled gem jars or tupperware containers for the ones too big to fit in a gem jar. The tupperware containers are labelled and have dessicant packs in them. When handling them to display or share, I only take out a couple at a time, then put them back and remove others. Having 20 or 50 or 100 small meteorites laying on a table with no labels or containers is inviting disaster. :lol:

Most of the specimens you see that have white numbers or other types of labels or identification marks come from much older collections - museums, universities, large private collections of note, etc. This practice is mostly obsolete in the digital age where there are less intrusive ways to mark a meteorite. A simple adhesive label that can be peeled off easily is one way to go. This is just me here, but I would never paint a label/number on a meteorite specimen in a way that is permanent or would require chemicals to remove. A specimen that is treated with chemicals to remove a label/paint will have those some chemicals infiltrate the specimen which can taint any classification tests - so if the specimen is unclassified, you may get anomalous or erroneous results in the classification. (I would think)....

Maybe more experienced meteorite collectors than I will chime in here with anything I missed.

Regards,

MikeG

#5 Jamie76

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 06:44 PM

Slices and smaller individuals can be put in padded glass front specimen cases. I do this then print out small labels that I place indside the specimen case with the meteorite. No need to label the meteorite itself and the label will stay with the specimen.

#6 molniyabeer

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 09:07 PM

Mark,

I appreciate what you say about only taking one or two pieces out of a labled container at a time but it still opens you to the opportunity for somehow swapping the samples when you put them back. I'm a firm believer in Murphy and the idea that if I can somehow lose the info, I will.

I also appreciate your comment that any glue or adhesive could muck up an analysis of the sample. There option here is to just not send in the part with the lable on it.

Basically, it comes down to I've seen too many nice but unmarked mineral specimens at shows or in private collections where the person no longer knows where the piece came from or who collected it or when. A chemical analysis would tell you what the meteorite is but not necessarily where it came from (unless it can be matched to other, known, samples).

You mentioned other less intrusive ways of marking samples. Can you elaborate?

Bottom line is I just don't want to spend time building a nice little personal collection only to leave an heir a box of rocks that after one or two looks through becomes hopelessly jumbled...

#7 Jamie76

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Posted 30 March 2008 - 10:50 PM

You can solve that problem by sending the rocks my way. I promise not to jumble them up. :jump:

#8 Olivier Biot

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 06:33 PM

I take photographs of my meteorites :)

#9 molniyabeer

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 08:20 PM

Jamie, thanks for the kind offer. However, please understand if I wait a few years before taking you up on the inheritance part!

Oliver, I'd thought about photos, and that certainly is a good way to help keep them sorted as long as you own them. I suppose you could then print cards with the individual pictures and other information about the specimen.

Thanks, all, for some interesting ideaas.

Clear (and falling!) skies.

#10 Qkslvr

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 03:50 PM

I think I'd take digital images, and then add catalog info into the image itself, then print them out.

#11 later

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 07:44 AM


Wouldnt it be cool to have them laser etched with a VERY small font? I know that they do it to ID diamonds now. CO2 lasers are common now. Cost per rock be an issue though......just brainstorming here.

#12 Glassthrower

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 10:16 AM

That's actually not a bad idea, Later. It could be done in two ways - one that is easily visible for identification purposes, and another that is very very tiny and hard to see - this could be an anti-theft feature allowing the owner to identify it in the future if it turns up elsewhere.

#13 later

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 09:23 AM

Also........maybe precision sandblasting?

just an example of a sandblasting option


Gary


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