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Sahara Desert
With pronounced scalloping on different contours, all surfaces are frosted, the result of generations of sandblasting by desert winds.
108 x 67 x 51mm (4¼ x 2 2/3 x 2in.)
Leinmann, B., Horn, P. and Langenhorst, F. (2001), “Evidence for shock metamorphism in sandstones from the Libyan Desert Glass strewn field.” Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 36(9), 1277–1282.
Special notice
This lot is offered without reserve. These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Lot Essay

Tektites are chunks of silicate glass whose origin was long considered a mystery. Today scientists agree these materials (whose name comes from the Greek tektos, meaning “melted”) formed when an asteroid impacted Earth. The extraordinary heat and pressure that resulted from such collisions liquefied terrestrial particles were blasted into the atmosphere that quenched and returned to Earth as glass. Tektites are terrestrial in origin and are named after the locality in which they are found, hence: Australites, Indochinites, Phillipinites, Moldavites, Libyan Desert Glass, etc. Among terrestrial impact glasses, the higher the silica content of the material, the lighter the color. Desert Glass is 98% silica (molten sand) and is sunny yellow; with 80% silica, Moldavites cover a range of greens and originate from what was formerly Czechoslovakia. Now offered is a translucent example of Libyan Desert Glass found in the sands of the Sahara, where it originated from an impact which occurred 28-29 million years ago. Libyan Desert Glass was used to make tools during the Pleistocene and used as jewelry in the Pharaonic Period with examples discovered in King Tut’s tomb.

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