An Article In Meteorite Times Magazine

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 Matteo Chinellato of M come Meteorite.

Meteorite-Times (MT) - What or who got you interested in meteorites and how old were you when you got your first meteorite?

Matteo Chinellato (MC) - I have start to collect minerals and fossil at the age of 4 years old and when I have found the first meteorites in Italy in a shop in Venice and I have buy immediately, this in the 1997 year, when I was 24 years old. From this period I have start to buy 2-3 meteorites for months, after the 1999 I have start to buy 20 meteorites for month, after have know the meteorite dealers via internet.

(MT) What was your first meteorite?

(MC) - My first meteorite I have buy it’s the classic Canyon Diablo fragment, and when its arrive the first Sikhote Alins in the Italian market I have buy immediately 2 pieces.

(MT) - Do you still have it?

(MC) - Yes, all pieces, three little Canyon Diablos and two Sikhote Alin, one with thumbprints and another shrapnel.

Canyon Diablo

(MT) - Do you have special areas of interest that you focus on in regards to meteorites (thin sections, photography, chemistry, age dating.. etc)?

(MC) - I am many interested to photos of meteorites, the historical pieces – specially Italian falls, I have few thin sections but not like many, and I need old meteorite articles, documents, books etc…

(MT) - Does your Family share in your interest in meteorites?

(MC) - My family it is interested in all news arrive in the family, and the same its for the meteorite deduce. My mother love many the pallasites – I have build a jewellery for her with a little slice of Esquel – and my brother like the iron meteorites etched.

(MT) - 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.)

(MC) - I collect all types of meteorites from all world and all sizes, but I am specialized in the Italian meteorites, when possible I buy or trade in the market or museums pieces of Italian meteorites and some pieces its present in Italy only in my collection, type a slice of the Messina meteorite


the biggest in Italy seen the all mass its in the British Museum. The same its for a piece of Trenzano, it’s the biggest in the private collections here in Italy


and other rare Italian meteorites type Albareto, Siena, Fermo and others. I like many the pallasites and iron slices, but I collect only the pieces not have problems of rust, seen here the humidity its high.

(MT) - Do you mind saying how many locations your collection represents?

(MC) - I do not, but the collection its composed from 646 pieces subdivided in 478 different founds and 138 different falls, my collection it’s the biggest in the private sector here in Italy.

(MT) - Is your collection displayed or kept in a dry box or both?

(MC) - My collection its displayed in a piece of furniture with windows and the temperature its at 18-20° but unfortunately the humidity its the same high and I have to control every piece if it appears rusty every week.

(MT) - In what ways do you use your computer for meteorites?

(MC) - All ways, for buy, trade meteorites via internet, for write documents for exhibitions, for write labels for my pieces, for the updates of my internet sites etc….

(MT) - Do you ever hunt for meteorites?

(MC) - Yes I have hunt meteorites and I have found 5 meteorites in the region where I live ( Veneto ) and  I have acquire two meteorites from private persons here in Italy. I have found my first meteorite in the Venice Beach in the 1999 called Lido di Venezia – I am waiting for the NomCom publish the complete analysis in one of the next Meteoritical Bulletins –

Lidodi Venezia

other 2 little fragments in a field in my city, another, the famous Tessera, found in a field at 500 mt. from my house.  Another I have found in a little glacial moraine near city of Belluno and another in a river near city of Treviso. To may it seems impossible meteorites found in Italy, I answer why? Meteorites falls in the all world, not only in decisive zones of the planet.

(MT) - What is your favorite meteorite in your collection?

(MC) - I have many pieces I love in my collection, but probably the best its the meteorites fall in the day of my birthday, type Barbotan


or Parambu, a very rare Brasilian fall


I like many the pallasites type Imilac or Esquel, the chondrites type Portales Valley, Siena, Vjatka and irons type Seymchan, Gibeon, Cape York and Udei Station.

(MT) - What is your favorite overall if it is not the one above?

(MC) - Overall? Uhmm….probably its Gujba, a very strange meteorite.

(MT) - What makes these of special interest?

(MC) - Why its strange seen a carbonaceous chondrite type full of metal type the Gujba. I have just change my little slice with another big, in future I hope to buy another biggest slice.

(MT) - What meteorites are currently on your wish list?

(MC) - Many, Siena ( a big piece ) Monte Milone, Motta di Conti, Valdinizza – and probably at few time arrive this pieces in my collection – a big piece of L’Aigle and Ensisheim, Murchison ( in arrive ) and many other historical pieces. Normaly I buy little pieces for after change this in the future when I have the possibility to buy another biggest.

(MT) - What methods have been most successful in building your collection? (Buying at shows, from dealers by mail, auctions on the web, trading... etc)

(MC) - I buy meteorites in the shows here in Italy or outside when I travel, but my meteorites for the moment arrive from meteorite dealers know via internet, and only from few I know well and have good prices and nice pieces. Ebay it’s a good place where buy meteorites, but this have ruin many the prices of the market and is not nice lose many money for a piece – example a lunar meteorite – pay time ago $5000/gr. and now available on Ebay for $1000 or under for gram, I know persons have lose many money thanks to this.

(MT) - Do you also collect related materials like impact glasses, breccias, melts, tektites, shocked fossils, native iron rocks etc?

(MC) - No, I no collect impact material or tektites etc… I have only 3 pieces of Tunguska wood give to me from a friend its go in Tunguska with the Italian expheditions. Now I need a big piece of Libyan Glass only for have  a example for curiosity.

(MT) - Do you prepare any of your own specimens? (cut, polish, etch, etc.)

(MC) - Yes, I have a 30 cm. diameter diamond blade where I cut my specimens, if I have to cut important pieces I go to a my friend have another type of blade. I polished the pieces with my hands with different grids of paper, and the same for the etching the iron meteorites.

(MT) - Have you had to take any special measures to protect them from the environment?

(MC) - For the moment I have problems only with some iron meteorites type Odessa, Canyon Diablo, Campo del Cielo, Nantan. I have see a very good oil for protect this it’s the Ballistol, have stop the rusty from pieces type Odessa or Campo del Cielo. For others, if is impossible to stop the rust, I put this into a resin and this stop the destroy of the piece, is not nice to seen but it’s the unique method for no loose the piece.