Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Caveat Emptor Meteorite

This past weekend I was in Portland, OR, for Gem Faire and encountered a turquoise dealer based in Nevada who claimed to be selling a meteorite he claimed he found in West-Central Nevada. He had the item in his booth and was selling it for $6,000. Right away I was skeptical given his sketchy reputation.

Rule #1 when looking to identify or purchase a meteorite is to acquire it from a reputable dealer in meteorites, NOT a turquoise dealer with a shady reputation in the turquoise business. I for one would limit myself to purchasing my meteorites from Geoffrey Notkin of Aerolite Meteorites with whom I have conducted business before. I highly recommend his Meteorwritings on It makes for a good primer on meteorites.

Rule #2 when looking to identify or acquire a meteorite is avoid purchasing meteorites featuring botryoidal chalcedony vugs with druzy quarts linings because real meteorites can't possibly possess them and this alleged meteorite most certainly did.

Rule #3 when looking to identify or acquire a meteorite is avoid purchasing meteorites lacking official documentation even if a sample has been removed from the object. The gentleman (and I use that word loosely) selling this item had cut a small knob off of this object and claimed he sent it off to be identified but failed to provide the documentary evidence which he did not even offer to show me.

This object was actually a chunk of hematite from where only God and that turquoise dealer knows. As Mr. Notkin would call it, this is a "meteor-wrong".
Note the small vug at bottom right. Photo by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved).


  1. Yeah, I don't even have to hold it to know that it's fake. I have a small collection of meteorites and all of them are easily identifiable as such. Shame on this guy for trying to pass off a simple rock as something worth vastly more monetarily and in the pursuit of science. Bastardo!

  2. Those botyroidal chalcedony vugs and druzy quartz thingies will get you every time. That dealer should know that...Allison the anonymouse