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Tektites
 


This past spring I found something very unusual at our local gem and mineral show. Among the shimmering collection of crystals and elegant gemstone beads were strings of black glossy nuggets that at first glance appeared to be obsidian or volcanic glass. However the feel of these nuggets was distinctly different than obsidian. It was intensely powerful and very energetic. The nuggets were tektites, a glass formed from the impact of comets or asteroids with the earth.

The latest research shows that tektites are formed from earthly material ejected into space when an impact occurs. The molten material solidifies at least partially in space and then falls earthward again, giving the glassy tektites strange, often drop-like, shapes.

Tektites have a much finer texture that obsidian with almost no air bubbles and no mineral inclusions and a much lower water and gas content, because they are formed primarily in a space environment, not the burning heart of a volcano. Tektite glass melts at a much higher temperature than volcanic glass and is much more viscous.

Tektites are actually quite rare and are not evenly distributed across the earth, but are found only in well-defined “strewfields.” Probably the most well-known tektite is Moldavite. It comes from Eastern Europe’s Moldavite Strewfield, which is divided into two separate areas, each producing tektites of different colors and textures. The clear, green, deeply grooved Moldavites have been prized as gemstones for centuries. The green gem Moldavites have sometimes been called “Sky Emeralds.”

The tektites that I purchased are from the vast Australasian Strewfield. It encompasses Southeast Asia, southern China, and parts of western Australia. It stretches from the Indian Ocean in the west to the Philippines in the east. Almost one-tenth of the Earth’s surface is considered part of this enormous field. These tektites tend to be dark and obsidian-like in appearance.

There are two North American areas, one in the Southeast called the Georgia Strewfield, producing beautiful tektites that are a translucent green, and another in Texas, producing a dark, deeply grooved tektite.

The last known strewfield is in Africa’s Ivory Coast, and it extends out into the Atlantic Ocean. These rare tektites are hard to find in the heavily forested terrain. They are dark in color and tend to have an egg or spherical shape.

Tektites have been valued by humankind since ancient times. Early man took advantage of the strong glass to make flaked tools, and tektites have been found at numerous archeology sites where they were used as protective talismans and in jewelry.

I find these glossy little tektites very compelling, an unusual blend of Earth and the vastness of space. Like meteorites, they are a reminder that the Universe is very active, that things change, that creation/destruction are part of an ongoing cosmic dance. Each one has a strong individual presence and a deep connection to space and time.

I intend to include tektites in necklaces, amulets, and medicine pouches. I hope that you will enjoy these new and very unusual creations.


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