MOLDAVITES

ABOVE:   A Besednice Moldavite. Amongst the most beautiful of tektites, the beauty being derived from heavy etching in the ground and destruction of the original surface texture. See my Anda Sculpture page. Other moldavites are better preserved in terms of original features.

Moldavites are mainly found in the Czech Republic, but the strewnfield also extends into Austria. Moldavites are derived from the Nordlingen Ries Impact Crater in southern Germany and are dated at 14.7 million years old.

Moldavites are highly collectable and valued for jewellery making. They are usually green in colour through transmitted light. The exterior surface textures are exquisite and consequently most stones are not faceted before being incorporated into jewellery. My fascination with moldavites is largely derived from the observation of surface sculpture.

The Anda sculpture in Australasian tektites strongly resembles the sculpture on many Moldavites. V-grooves apparently arranged in an oriented fashion - there is nothing random about the V-groove pattern. It is currently believed that these V-grooves are due to chemical etching - perhaps by fresh water. Variations in the amount of V-grooving would be down to the rock in which they are deposited. Highly porous and permeable rocks such as sands and gravels are likely to encourage V-groove formation. The radial patten may be due to the way the tektite has cooled, leaving lines of weakness. I currenltly believe that other sculpture is likely to be primary in origin, although possibly enhanced by etching.

It is interesting that Moldavites are green. It is the reduced iron (Fe(II)) that makes them green. Proximal Georgiaites are also green-yellow and I have even heard of slightly green Vietnamites (likely to be highly exagerated by sellers and probably green-brown-black!). Is the green colour not only related to source rock but also to distance from the impact source?

ABOVE:   A Moldavite teardrop. Note how the chemical etching forms an identical pattern to Anda Sculpture in Indochinites.

 

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