It’s hard to stay grounded when you stop and think about the situation we’re faced with in this life. We’re on a giant ball spinning in space at 1600kmph, a few planets away is a gigantic fireball a million times larger than Earth AND we’re all floating in infinity (whatever that means). Now bring your thoughts back down to Earth and ponder this. Crystals can take thousands to millions of years to form, which means they have been present during key moments, in our planet’s evolution – the ice age, dinosaurs, ancient civilisations etc. Some objects on earth didn’t originate here at all – monstrous molten metal meteors have collided with our land, destroying everything in their path leaving behind a massive crater, altering the climate and reshaping the landscape completely. Then we have Tektites, the perfect bridge between Earth forming minerals and extra-terrestrial materials, humble ruminants of meteoric violence.
Tektites are generally translucent to opaque black, brown, grey, yellow and occasionally green in colour. Their chemical compositions are similar to both granite and impure sandstone (greywacke) or soils of these compositions, being high in silica (68-82%) with 10-14% aluminium oxide and lesser iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium and titanium. A homogenous glass, the name Tektite comes from the Greek word ‘tektos’, meaning ‘molten’. This hard, lightweight material has been found in artifacts across the world, Tektite jewellery pieces, totem stones, as well as fashioned into arrowheads and small blades by fracturing the surface into curved shapes with a fine edge.
Although small and unassuming, part of a Tektite’s mystique is the unknown. The age of formation and constant surface morphology of our planet can make it hard to identify exactly how they got there and when it all took place. The most popular theory on the ‘how’ suggests an extremely massive meteoric impact, splashing the melted ground rock up into the atmosphere before raining back down onto earth. The hot malleable material acquires aerodynamic shapes on their return journey to the Earth’s surface before settling in a strewn field reflecting the initial trajectory of the meteorite. This results in a plethora of unique shapes and forms including spheres, dumbbells, tear drops, discs, buttons and boomerangs, each a result of their unique journey of height distance and speed. Their shapes along with external textures of pit marks, hollow cavities, fine crusts, grooves and edges are used to identify them.
As for ‘when’, there are four major geographically extended deposit sites (strewn fields) where Tektites have been discovered, three of which correspond to known source craters: The 11km diameter Bosumtwi Crater in Ghana is linked to the Ivory Coast Tektites, the 24km diameter Ries Crater in Germany is the source of the Central European Tektites and the 85km diameter Chesapeake Bay impact structure in North America is the source crater of the North American tektites. The Australasian strewn field is left with the absence of a source crater, although it may be covered by dense forest or may not be a typical rounded crater due to a low-angle impact.
Moldavite is one of the better-known Tektites, loved for its rich olive green to dull green colour and delicate feathered external texture. Found in Moldau, Czechoslovakia this Tektite corresponds to the Ries Crater in Germany where the impact is believed to have been some 15 million years ago. Worshipped for thousands of years for its high-energy vibration and gem-like qualities, it is a beautiful Tektite for our Tektite jewellery collection.
As deposits run thin there are more and more imitations available on the market, replicating not only the colour and heft but also the delicate external characteristics. Bunny Bedi, owner and designer at Made in Earth, has felt the brunt of these low-cost imposters.
“Large, good quality Moldavite is difficult to find at the best of times and now the market is flooded with Chinese imitations. They’re sold at very cheap prices and look scarily similar to the real deal. As they have raw external surface it is hard to examine and test so you really need to know and trust your source. I’ve dealt directly with locals in Czech Republic for years and the prices are going up, not down.”
It’s easy to let your mind wander when thinking about gemstone jewellery. On the one hand you might fantasise about opulent jewels and crystals with impossible clarity but then there’s the other side of what the Earth has ensured over time in order to produce such wondrous gems. It’s important to remind ourselves of the amazingness of it all and appreciate the little things… like our Tektite rings, pendants, earrings and bracelets. We have an amazing range of unisex pieces so there really is something for everyone in this range.
Come and see our Tektite, Moldavite, Libyan Desert glass and meteorite collections in one of our galleries or shop online today!