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How to work with meteorite?


#1

Hi All,

I would like to know if there is someone with experience about working with meteorite?

Thanks


#2

The only thing I’ve done with meteorites is to use small melty nickel- iron ones in rings and pendants, treating them like a stone. I can cast them in place, because they’re already been hot, what’s going to happen to them?

Janet Kofoed


#3

Janet,

Can you pickle them after casting? What metal did you use: sterling or a gold alloy? What burnout temperature did you use?

I have some pieces i have in stock to similarly create with.
Also do you think you could cast raw sapphire crystals in the same piece?

My concern is messing up the heat polished surface fresh from fiery entry into the earth’s atmosphere.

Thanks

Eileen


#4

I use sterling. Do not pickle them after casting; it will turn everything else red! I confess I don’t do my own casting, but my caster has no problem doing this, once he realized not to pickle them. I don’t
know about the sapphire crystals; my feeling is that you could. Anybody else know?

Jnet Kofoed


#5

I either bezel the meteorite, or tube set stones in interesting ones that would make nice pendants. I drill out a seat for the tube and solder using paste solder (easy). I use sterling tubes or 18K prefab tubes from Rio. The 18K pops against the steel grey of the meteorite.

I pickle them briefly in a separate container and discard the used pickle. I haven’t lost any of the texture so far. I usually drill a hole at the top and bead up a round head pin on both sides of the bail to hold the bail on.

There are metalsmiths out there who do all kinds of neat things with meteorite and I would love to have a class on this.

Barbara in Sunny Texas


#6

It’s steel or at least iron. Treat it as such


#7

Meteorites can have a Widmanstatten pattern that can be brought out by acid etching. It is the crystal structure. If you heat it you can lose the pattern as the metal recrystalizes, and then it just a piece of iron/nickel metal.


#8

Thanks Janet,

I was worried about the surface altering.

Eileen


#9

I would avoid heating it too much or polishing


#10

It really doesn’t, not that you can’t bring back by ordinary polishing.

Janet


#11

There are meteorites and meteorites. I’ve only worked with the nickel-iron kind, but there are stony and carbonaceous chondrite types, as well as tektites and moldavite, that would qualify as meteorites, and I assume they would require different handling.

Janet Kofoed


#12

That’s why I use easy solder. It doesn’t overheat the meteorite. If the seats for the tube settings are properly drilled and they fit tight, easy will suffice.

Barbara


#13

whenever i use Meteorite i use it cold and pretend it is stone.

cut and grind cold to shape and set as a cab. drill holes and use hollow rivets to make rings improve texture with a fast dunking in ferric chloride

no heat no solder only grind drill and shape cold

les


#14

Contact Jim Hrisoulas, I believe he’s used them in pattern welded knives, and he’s a friendly guy who is a wealth of information.


#15

I’ve used metallic meteorites in jewelry, but they were difficult to work with. It doesn’t cut well using the diamond saws that work with other lapidary materials, for some reason, so I had a struggle with it just in getting the shape I wanted. But the really bad part came later, after the piece was set. Apparently some water from the cutting process got trapped in invisible pores and cracks that reacted with the nickel-iron and oozed out in liquid form. Rust started forming on the surface; it seemed like the whole thing was unstable and wanted to deteriorate in a fairly short period of time. I suppose there’s a way of dealing with that - boiling it in paraffin wax or some kind of polymer might have helped. But it would either take some experimentation or an authoritative recipe to make something I’d be confident enough to sell.

Tektites (Moldavites are one kind), by the way, are not the same thing as meteorites. They are glass that’s formed when a meteorite hits the earth, and instantaneously heats the impact crater to the melting point of silica. The drops of molten glass splash away from the point of impact and are found widely scattered around the area. They often have interesting surface patterns, and don’t have the same issues with cutting and setting as the meteorites themselves.

Andrew Werby
Juxtamorph.com