Spectacularly beautiful gem-studded meteorite may sell for $115,000

The only known slice of the vast Willamette iron meteorite is certainly the front runner for top lot in the space section at Heritage's upcoming Natural History auction, being expected to fetch as much as $875,000.

However, it is only one of a wide range of meteorites, several of them eye-popping, which are going under the hammer.

One very different, but perhaps even more spectacular spacerock is a complete slice of a pallasite from Atacama Desert, Chile.

Comprising less than 1% of all meteorites, pallasitic meteorites - named in honour of 18th Century geologist Peter Pallas - are by far the most dazzling of all meteorites. Imilac is among the most sought-after pallasites and most sought-after meteorites in general.

The specimen offered here was cut from the broadest area of the single largest Imilac, its main mass, which was recovered from the highest desert on Earth. Not only is this complete slice - with its spectacular mosaic of sparkling crystals embedded in a nickel-iron matrix - incomparably beautiful, it is also exceptional for a few earthly reasons.

Imilac pallasite meteorite
Imilac pallasite meteorite

The meteorite from which this slice was derived was the centrepiece of the British Museum of Natural History's Meteorite Hall for decades.

In a similar situation to the Willamette offering, it was cut to reveal its internal structure. Bordered with fusion crust, this specimen contains an area of highly translucent gem-quality olivine and peridot (birthstone of August), as well as an area of opaque and uncommonly angular crystals.

Previously also a part of The Macovich Collection of Meteorites, the pallasite will be sold on June 12 with a listing of $115,000. in Dallas.

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