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Meteorite rings are exactly that – rings made from space debris. A rare and unique material, meteorite is perfect for an out of this world type of jewelry with a great back story. While it might seem that crafting jewelry out of meteorites is a new concept, people have been using this material for thousands of years to create rings and other jewelry.
Today meteorite continues to be used in jewelry and watches. However, they’re only now getting recognized as a unique and stylish choice for wedding rings.
Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of meteorite rings before we get right into the details.
Pros of Meteorite Rings
- Undeniable cool factor
- Works well with other metals
- A unique choice where every ring is different from the other
- Reasonably priced
- Modern and luxurious metal
Cons of Meteorite Rings
- Difficult to maintain
- Limited availability and designs
- Prone to rust
What are Meteorite Rings Made of?
Matching wedding ring set made of Gibeon meteorite. See them on Etsy.
Meteorites are pieces of debris from outer space that sometimes fall into earth and manage to survive the journey. What makes meteorite rings so special is their natural patterns, which are the result of nickel-iron crystals growing as the heated meteorite very slowly cools over millions of years. When polished, the resulting crystalline pattern that shows on the surface of the meteorite is very distinct and unique, and an indication that the material is of extra-terrestrial origin.
There are three main types of meteorites, which are:
- Stony meteorites that contain large amounts of silica. Like little rocks, this make up the majority of meteorites that fall into earth.
- Metallic meteorites are less common making up less than 10% of all meteorites that have been found. While iron is the main metal found in these meteorites, they also often contain cobalt and nickel.
- Stony-metallic meteorites are a combination of the other two types of meteorites. This contains special space olivine held between layers of iron matrix, resulting in a very beautiful type of stone that is highly valuable, rare and coveted.
Stony metallic meteorite variety. See this on Etsy.
Not every type of meteorite that falls to earth is suitable in the use of jewelry. While there are several options, Gibeon and Seymchan meteorites are often considered among the best due to their distinct patterns and higher nickel content which makes them more resistant to rust and corrosion. More on that below.
One of the best things about meteorite rings is that no two are alike. The natural pattern on each ring is at least a little different, meaning that your ring is truly unique.
A modern matching meteorite wedding ring set. See it on Etsy.
Crafting a meteorite into a wedding ring is a long and laborious process and requires skill. Meteorite rings can be made for both men and women and are perfect if you want a unique matching set of wedding rings.
A beautiful women’s Gibeon meteorite inlay ring from Brian Gavin. See this ring here.
Men’s rose gold Gibeon meteorite inlay ring. See it on Etsy.
While you can find rings made completely of meteorite, you’ll find that inlay meteorite rings are more readily available. This pairs meteorite with a metal like platinum, gold or titanium to create a durable ring with a beautiful contrast.
Matching meteorite wedding ring set with diamond. See it on Etsy.
Meteorite rings are often chosen for wedding rings, but they can also be used as engagement rings too. Some designs feature diamonds as the center stone. Others feature a beautifully carved piece of meteorite as the center attraction, like this unique diamond meteorite ring.
Here’s a video with a step by step guide showing how to make a meteorite ring from scratch.
Do Meteorite Rings Rust?
As we’ve discussed above, meteorite used in jewelry typically has a high iron content. What this means is that rings made from meteorite has the potential to rust. While this doesn’t occur straightaway, with time, most meteorite rings tend to succumb to some corrosion. You’ll have to take specific care of the ring and ensure that it is maintained carefully in order to keep it shining and looking as good as new.
How to Tell if Your Meteorite Ring is Fake
Unfortunately, this is a real problem where unscrupulous vendors try to pass off fake meteorite as the real deal. It’s easy to see why they would want to do that. Real meteorite is valuable and rare. It’s not always easy to come by and the demand for it is high and growing.
There are a few ways to tell if your meteorite ring is authentic:
- The Magnet Test – Real meteorite is magnetic and should react if you hold a magnet next to it. Note that there is a very small percentage, about 1%, of meteorites that don’t have magnetic properties, but in general, you can be sure that there will be some attraction.
- Rust – Authentic meteorite has a tendency to rust. While this doesn’t always occur, if your meteorite ring does start to rust, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean that you’ve been fobbed with inferior meteorite. It simply means that the meteorite contains iron.
- Certificate of Authenticity – Some reputable sellers will provide a certificate of authenticity, stating the source of the meteorite. You can ask your retailer whether they’ll provide you with a certificate.
- Examine the Pattern – Carefully examine the pattern on the surface of the meteorite. True meteorite should have a distinct pattern etched into it, often known as the Widmanstatten pattern. This comes from its natural molecular structure. While this too can be fabricated, knowing this will allow you to examine it closely.
How to Care for and Clean a Meteorite Ring
Depending on the type of meteorite you have, corrosion will be something you have to deal with. However, even the types of meteorite known not to corrode to quickly, will still be subject to some rusting. Here are some steps to prevent undue rusting:
- Keep your meteorite ring away from moisture, especially prolonged exposure. It’s best to take your ring off when doing the dishes or cleaning where your ring will be in contact with water for a long time.
- Don’t wear your ring when swimming in pools or the sea. The salt and chlorine may negatively impact the ring causing it to rust faster.
- Don’t expose your ring to any harsh chemicals, like hairspray, make up or body lotion.
- You can wear your ring when doing other activities like sports, gardening or to work.
If your ring has developed some rust or you feel the pattern is getting difficult to see, here are some ways to clean it:
- Use a toothbrush and some regular toothpaste to brush the meteorite ring. Ensure that you’ve plugged the drain if you’re doing this over the sink to keep from losing your ring. Rinse thoroughly and check to see if all the rust and grime have disappeared. If not, repeat the process until you get the results, you’re after.
- Next, you can soak your ring in a little container with some rubbing alcohol. This dries the moisture on the ring. After about 10 minutes, take the ring out of the alcohol and let it dry on a piece of tissue or cloth. You don’t have to wipe it off as the alcohol will evaporate on its own.
- Finally, seal the meteorite with some oil. You can use something like gun oil or other similar oil. To properly coat the ring, you can place it in a small container and pour the oil over it. Once the ring is coated well, take it out of the oil and wipe the oil off using a lint-free cloth.
While all this might seem like a lot of work to keep the ring sparkling, those who buy meteorite rings feel that it’s worth it because after all, it’s a small price to pay to have something that’s literally out of this world.
Reapplying the Etching on a Meteorite Ring
Over time, the natural pattern on the meteorite ring will start to fade. To bring the ring back to life, take it to a professional jeweler knowledgeable about meteorite rings and ask them to repolish and etch the ring for you. Many vendors offer this service free of charge if you purchase your meteorite ring from them.
Where to Buy Meteorite Rings
Because meteorite rings are rarer to find on the market, you will find that designs and availability are rather limited.
At this stage, from the top online retailers, only Brian Gavin carries an exclusive collection of meteorite rings from acclaimed designer Chris Ploof. These are of the highest quality and are very impressive in their craftsmanship.
Etsy also offers a wide collection of meteorite rings, to suit a range of styles and budgets. It’s the place to go for unique and handmade designs and if this is what you’re looking for, definitely start your search here. You can find multiple independent jewelry boutiques on Etsy, each with their own assortment of meteorite rings. Each Etsy shop has its own polices so it might take some time to review all their details ahead of making a purchase, but that’s usually time well-spent.