The rarest of the three main types of meteorites, the stony-irons are divided into two groups: the mesosiderites and pallasites. Mesosiderites are believed to have been formed by violent asteroidal collisions, millions of years ago in deep space.
Pallasites are perhaps the most alluring of all meteorites, and they are certainly of great interest to collectors and enthusiasts. Pallasites consist of a nickel-iron matrix rich in colorful olivine crystals. When olivine crystals are of sufficient purity and display an emerald- green color, they are known as the gemstone peridot. Pallasites take their name from the German zoologist and explorer, Peter Pallas, who described the first-known pallasite, the Russian meteorite Krasnojarsk, which was found in the eighteenth century near the Siberian capital of the same name.
When cut and polished into thin slabs, the crystals in pallasites sometimes become translucent, giving them a remarkable otherworldly beauty. While micro-diamonds have been found in some meteorites, notably the carbonaceous chondrite Allende [ see our Stones page], pallasites are the only meteorites that contain gemstones easily visible to the naked eye.
Pallasites are believed to have formed at the core/mantle boundary of large asteroids and they are extremely rare. As of 2021, out of the approximately 65,000 officially recognized meteorites, there are only 131 known pallasites.
Our catalog of stony-iron meteorites for sale is presented here, in alphabetical order. Click on any image for additional photographs. All specimens are fully guaranteed and we pride ourselves on outstanding customer service.
Pallasite-PMG, Found in Kansas, 1881
At Aerolite, we love all pallasites, but Admire is quite close to our hearts. Its name made waves when hosts Geoff Notkin and Steve Arnold pulled a hefty 223-pound “Alpha” (Admire) pallasite out of the ground on Season Two, Episode One of Meteorite Men. Not to worry — that monster remains intact and travels to museums and exhibits around the United States. These lovely part slices, crystals and “nuggets” are from the same strewnfield, but an altogether different rock. The slices were expertly prepared and are beautifully appointed. The “nuggets” are created when the pallasite is being stabilized; they truly look like visitors-from-outer space. The crystals are whole and tumbled. Imagine adding an entire pallasite crystal to your collection!
PALLADOT™ FACETED GEMSTONES
Pure olivine is the gemstone peridot. Though incredibly rare, pallasites are rich in peridot, so we can call them “gemstones from space” with confidence. Out of nearly 64,000 officially recognized meteorites, there are only 130 pallasites. Of those 130 pallasites, it was long believed that only one, Esquel found in Argentina in 1951, had unshocked crystals, until the exciting discovery very large masses of Admire in Kansas.
Crystals that are shocked have experienced a massive trauma in their past that results in the formation of many fractures — a bit like a crack in a windshield. In the case of pallasite crystals, that trauma probably took place on the parent body, millions of years ago. As such, shocked crystals do not lend themselves to faceting.
When prepared examples of Admire were taken to the Center for Meteorite Studies at ASU, Tempe, a remarkable discovery was made: the olivine (peridot) crystals did not have the expected shock features. After being soaked in acid baths, drained, washed, and sorted by hand, experts found that only about 1 in 100 of the resulting crystals were suitable for faceting.
To recap: 64,000 meteorites have produced only 130 pallasites, of which very few had unshocked crystals, and only one has sufficient availability. Further, out of end-product rough gems, a tiny 1% can be processed into finished gems. All of which makes Admire peridot space gems one of the rarest materials in existence. Emeralds seem commonplace in comparison.
The resulting Admire peridot has been studied by meteoriticists and gemologists and officially recognized as a new gemstone, with the name palladot.
The GIA has officially recognized the Admire peridot crystals as a unique gemstone, exhibiting features never before seen in extraterrestrial peridot.
Exceedingly rare and alluringly beautiful.
Mesosiderite-B4, Found in the Philippines, 1956
The story of the Bondoc mesosiderite is one of the most remarkable in meteorite history. Recovered by H.H. Nininger 40 miles from the nearest village in a remote part of the Philippines during the 1950s, the original, and only, mass weighed a staggering 1,955 pounds. At the time, it was the second largest stony-iron meteorite ever found. It took Nininger nearly four years to get the mass back to the United States, and its amazing journey included travel by bulldozer and river raft.
Examples of this material are described as Bondoc nodules. Some of the matrix survived in excellent condition. Some of it was cut into slices, and others were preserved in their natural state. We are very pleased to have examples of both. These are described as Bondoc silicates.
Since Nininger transported the original mass from the Philippines, we can say Bondoc has Nininger provenance, even though not all specimens carry a hand-painted number.
Pallasite, Found in Russia, 1810
First discovered in Belarus, Brahin is among the most alluring of pallasites. Displaying rich, sea-green olivine (peridot) crystals, these outstanding laboratory prepared slices show a high olivine density (approximately 80%), with colorful crystals appearing suspended in a delicate lattice of shiny metal. Cut thin for maximum translucency, and expertly prepared in one of the world’s top labs to show off their bright nickel-iron matrix.
Pallasite, Found in China, 2000
An extremely beautiful pallasite characterized by extraordinarily large and colorful olivine crystals. The main mass was discovered in 2000, and this meteorite has rapidly become a favorite among collectors due to the stunning and enormous olivine crystals. The absolute finest display piece.
Found in Chile in 1822
Imilac was found in Chile in 1822 and is classified as a pallasite, perhaps the most alluring of all meteorites, and certainly of great interest to collectors and enthusiasts. They are extremely rare; pallasites consist of a nickel-iron matrix rich in colorful olivine crystals and are believed to have formed at the core/mantle boundary of large asteroids. Out of nearly 65,000 officially recognized meteorites, there are only 130 known pallasites. Of these, Imilac’s olivine grains are among the most beautiful and alluring. Some pieces, called “metal skeletons,” have also been seen on the meteorite market; these are severely weathered pieces that lack olivine grains.
The Imilac meteorite was found in the Atacama Desert, a desert plateau in South America that is the driest non-polar desert in the world. It’s been the site for a number of Mars analog experiments, whereby scientists test research and exploration methods, technology, and equipment. The desert’s otherworldly appearance has made it a popular destination for filming Mars scenes. Due to its extreme conditions – negligible cloud cover, lack of light pollution and radio interference, and high altitude – the Atacama Desert is a prime location for conducting astronomical observations, and its home to a number of astronomy projects and telescopes.
NORTHWEST AFRICA 10023
Pallasite, PMG-an, Found in Northwest Africa, 2014
This is a truly remarkable find from the northern deserts of Africa: an astoundingly vibrant pallasite with olivine colors ranging from tangerine all the way to lime green. There is a significantly high crystal density among the iron and they vary from small clusters to large, attention-seeking individuals.
In order to best display the interior, we have various slices that are polished on one face and etched on the other. Plus, each slice is cut thin in order to boost the transparency of the olivine crystals and allow one to create a brilliant, artistic show of color when presented with light, even if the light source may be quite dim. It is an unequivocally luxurious and bold pallasite.
NORTHWEST AFRICA 10882
Northwest Africa 10882, Mesosiderite A2, Purchased and classified by Steve Arnold in May 2016
A very rare mesosiderite A2 from a single mass. Saw cut shows a stony-iron breccia with silicate clasts up to ~1 cm, metal veins and nodules up to ~1 cm, however many domains are fine-grained mixtures of metal and silicate. Beautiful!
Pallasite, Found in Eastern Kenya, 2017
Sericho pallasite (initially called Habaswein), found in Kenya was just such a discovery. Although recorded in 2016 and officially recognized as a meteorite in 2017, local lore has it that several large Sericho masses had been known to exist for generations.
Pure olivine (peridot) is naturally green, but Sericho’s sojourn on Earth has caused its crystals to terrestrialize and acquire yellow, orange, and brown hues. While pallasites are typically considered to be composed approximately 50% olivine and 50% nickel-iron, Sericho has a particularly high crystal density, with estimates putting it at 70–80% olivine.
Pallasite, Found in Russia, 1967
Seymchan is the meteorite that kept on getting more interesting as time went on. First discovered during the summer of 1967 by the Russian geologist F. A. Mednikov, it was originally classified as a IIE iron meteorite. In the early 2000s, meteorite hunters associated with the Vernadsky Institute in Moscow returned to the site in the hope of finding additional specimens. They did. And there were amazed to discover not iron meteorites, but pallasites — stony-iron meteorites encrusted with olivine crystals. Their finds resulted in a rare classification change in the scientific literature: in 2007 van Niekerk et al. revised the designation for Seymchan from iron to pallasite.
Seymchan has an unusual structure: some areas display olivine-rich clusters, while others consist almost entirely of nickel-iron. During its tumultuous flight through the atmosphere and subsequent impact, it is easy to imagine the meteoritic masses of Seymchan shearing at the nickel-iron/olivine borders. Some pieces, therefore, appear to be entirely metallic, while others appear pallasitic. This explains why Mednikov found what he assumed to be an entirely iron, or sideritic meteorite, while later expeditions found what they assumed to be pallasites.
SEYMCHAN FULL SLICES
Worldwide interest in meteorites continues to grow and olivine-rich Seymchan specimens are now extremely difficult to acquire. Raw, unprepared masses now sell for the same dollar per gram rate as fully polished slices did only five years ago. We are pleased to present these few full slices.
SEYMCHAN PART SLICES
SEYMCHAN IRON-RICH SLICES
Seymchan as an iron is an exceptionally attractive meteorite and features a spectacular etch pattern. We are pleased to offer iron siderite part and full slices.
Stony-irons are by far the rarest of the three main classes of meteorites; the others being irons and stones. Mesosiderites and pallasites make up the stony-irons and Vaca Muerta (spanish for “dead cow”) is a rare example of the mesosiderite type. First discovered in 1861 by prospectors looking for rare metals, the Vaca Muerta meteorite comes from a difficult-to-reach area in Chile’s vast Atacama Desert. The area has been extensively hunted since the 1960s and examples of this meteorite only rarely come to market.