This feature is devoted each month to one of the personalities within the meteorite community. This month we are delighted to share an interview we had with our good friend Guido von Berg. You May contact Guido at email@example.com.
What or who got you interested in tektites and how old were you when you got your first tektite?
In the early ´80 when I was around 14 years old, I was fascinated by a small Indochina tektite from Thailand in my brother's mineral collection. He told me that it was something similar to a meteorite. I got interested, studied the piece and got some few information out of several mineral guides. At a mineral show in Koblenz, Germany which is my home town I purchased a variety of thailandites and a small moldavite. During the years and several exhibitions I came in contact with dealers and collectors and started setting up a collection of tektites only.
What was your first tektite?
An ordinary indochinite from Thailand.
Do you still have it?
No, I sold my entire former collection in 1992. In 2000 I restarted again. Today I regret that the early collection was sold but in the past four years I collected much more intensively and had great success in getting wonderful pieces which in former times I could only dream of.
Do you have special areas of interest that you focus on in regards to tektites (thin sections, photography, chemistry, age dating...etc)?
I must admit that my collection consists of very rare or aesthetically shaped pieces only. I neither have tens of material to do scientific work nor do I have the knowledge to study their chemistry. Furthermore my collection is scientifically of minor use as my items do not reveal the average tektite occurrence.
Does your Family share in your interest in meteorites?
My brother who is an archaeologist and anthropologist shares my interest indeed and we built up our collection together and in mutual agreement we decide to purchasing or to trade items. Sometimes we go out hunting for tektites or meteorites. The rest of my family does not really understand my interests. It is very interesting for us to study man made artifacts of tektite glass which is a field in which my brother and I have an individual interest, for me as an avid tektite fan and for my brother as an archaeologist. Our bediasite artifact (pictures bediasite, indochinite ans LDG artifacts) is an unique example.
Do you have any special approaches to collecting? (Type collection, only stones, only irons, only by aesthetics, etc. or any and all that you like.)
When collecting tektites it surely is somehow interesting to have pieces from all the strewnfields. For a long period it was impossible to get tektites from the Ivory coast. Now we have seven wonderful and well documented pieces. As I said earlier I am a bit specialized in very rare, large and beautifully shaped tektites.
I also have a deeper interest in those pieces which can give answers to the origin of tektites. These are in my eyes the layered or aerodynamically ablated tektites and stretched ones which for us are an incontrovertible advice that tektites are terrestrial objects and do not come from the moon.
Do you mind saying how many locations your collection represents?
I am not sure, some hundred pieces from very different locations and from all the strewnfields so far known. Many tektite friends who saw our collection were impressed by the varieties of Ivorites and Indomalaysian tektites including extremely rare pieces from localities in Billiton, Borneo, Celebes or Malaysia.
Ivory Coast Specimens
What makes these of special interest?
They show a very fresh surface which allows interesting studies about ablations or etching. Finally their beauty is stunning.
Is your collection displayed or kept in a dry box or both?
The most valuable pieces are not on display. Some decorative pieces are displayed.
In what ways do you use your computer for meteorites?
Manly for staying in contact with tektite friends in all over the world by e-mail. Sometimes we visit meteorite or tektite sites to see what is new.
Do you ever hunt for meteorites?
Yes, we have been hunting for tektites in the Czech Republic and in Australia. We found tektites in South Australia and Victoria. It was a great thrill. We also collected Henbury meteorites with metal detectors many years ago. As I live in Spain we sometimes reach out to the deserted parts and start hunting there. Up to now without major success. We plan to hunt for tektites again in Australia and Maybe one day in the US. Finally I think even without the success of finding a meteorite it is important to do a bit of field work even if it sometimes ends up in some medieval styled Spanish wine bodegas.
What is your favorite tektite in your collection?
A weathered partly flanged australite found by famous collector and scientist George Baker in 1950.
What tektite is currently on your wish list?
We would welcome some more well preserved georgiaites.
What methods have been most successful in building your collection? (Buying at shows, from dealers by mail, auctions on the web, trading... etc)
Many times one can only obtain a rarity if one is willing to offer fantastic material in return. I think trading is one of the best ways to enlarge my collection significantly. We are always interested in contacting tektite interested people to enlarge our collection.
Layered Moldavite Specimens
Do you also collect related materials like impact glasses, breccias, melts, tektites, shocked fossils, native iron rocks etc?
Yes, definitely. We have a considerable part of our collection dedicated to impact glasses and shatter cones. For example irgizites, zamanshinites, columbianites and other natural glasses were kept in our collection as well. We also have some meteorites mainly to show interested people the difference in between tektites and meteorites.
Do you prepare any of your own specimens? (cut, polish, etch, etc.)
If tektites have to be prepared at all, I'll leave that kind of work to specialists.
Have you had to take any special measures to protect them from the environment?
This surely is not necessary with glasses.
Can you recommend tektite literature for those who want to know more about tektites?
Yes, in my opinion the best books are TEKTITES by Guy Heinen and SHOWERS OF GLASS FROM THE SKY by Joe McCall
A basic questions regarding tektites is the problem of the origin of tektites. What do you think, where do they come from?
For us there is no doubt that tektites are terrestrial objects which were produced by large meteorite or asteroid impacts on earth. After the results of deep see drilling project 612 and considering all the facts which relate tektites to meteorite craters (Chesapeake Bay – North American strewnfield, Bosumtwi Crater – ivorites, Nördlinger Ries - moldavites) there is no more space for a lunar origin.
What would be the most breathtaking scientific news regarding tektites?
The find of the impact crater which can definitely be related to the Asian strewnfield.