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Meteorites at the Rock Shop: Columbine of Aspen is Breathtaking!

Columbine of Aspen

Simon M. Hmani of Columbine of Aspen shares stories about the meteorites in his amazing store.

 

For those of us with an above average enthusiasm for meteorites, the traditional rock shop is often devoid of the very rocks we crave. Yet we continue to search their offerings in hopes a space rock somehow entered their inventory. And when desperation finally sets in, we resort to asking the question of the proprietor, “Do you have any meteorites?”

 

Columbine of Aspen

A 12kg complete stone meteorite with classic thumb printing on its weathered crust.

 

For many in the Rock Shop business, meteorites are an anathema that parallels their crystal and cabochon wears, but often remain firmly outside any formal interest. A sad “no” is a common but anticipated ending to the conversation, but sometimes the proprietor of rocks presents some tektites as meteorites, or launches into fanciful tales of encounters with meteorite falls completely devoid of evidence. Or at worst, begins a diatribe of negativity blasting the astronomical price of meteorites, and the complete lack of authentication contaminating the subject. Yet when traveling, I still cannot resist the urge to stop and check whenever I see a Rock Shop along the road.

 

Columbine of Aspen

A brightly polished thin slice of Seymchan pallasite.

 

Columbine of Aspen is on an entirely different rock shop level. While on vacation in Aspen, Colorado, I checked out any store I could find that held minerals or fossils in their window displays in hopes a meteorite or two would be available. As expected, of the four stores in walking distance of downtown Aspen, one had none, it mostly focused on precious and semiprecious stones including those in the rough. One had some bagged tiny iron meteorite fragments but no information. One had just sold out of all meteorites (sometime in the past decade or two from what I could tell). And one stopped me dead in my tracks with the size and scope of their meteorite offerings let alone their extreme museum quality displays of fossils, crystals, and minerals.  Truly jaw dropping!

 

Columbine of Aspen

Joseph sharing his excitement about the incredible specimens everywhere in the store. Note the huge slice of Seymchan pallasite displayed.

 

Simon M. Hmani of Columbine of Aspen showed me around the meteorites and shared some stories. When working in the rarefied air of meteorites too heavy to lift, there is always more to the tale. And the excitement of discussing meteorites (and minerals and fossils) in a brightly lit museum-like setting where the specimens can be handled is pure joy. We even had a video chat with Sahar Nayzak, a relative who deals in meteorites and who was basking on a beach in Morocco at that moment. Sahar was aware of the Accretion Desk, so I count that as another win that day.

Here are some images of the meteorites on display along with a few stunning fossils. If ever in the neighborhood of Aspen, Colorado don’t miss this world class museum that is actually a store.

Until next time….

 

Columbine of Aspen

Next level trilobite specimens are on display. This could be yours!

 

Columbine of Aspen

Translucent Moldavites are sprinkled in with the meteorites.

 

Columbine of Aspen

A lightly oriented complete specimen of the Ataxite from Egypt named Gabel Kamil.

 

Columbine of Aspen

This massive opalized ammonite truly is breathtaking. And it’s not the only one on display!

 

Columbine of Aspen

A chunk of affordable NWA 869 contains some visible breccia peeking out from under the saw marks.

 

Columbine of Aspen

Plenty of multi kilo-sized Campo del Cielo are sprinkled through the display cabinet and around the store.

 

Columbine of Aspen

Another view of the 12kg stone. Notice the purity of the huge crusted side of this bowling ball from space.

 

Columbine of Aspen

A heavy sculpted Uruacu iron from Brazil. I imagine that meteorites such as this grace the entryways of Aspen mansions as they should.

 

Columbine of Aspen

Simon displays the boundary edge of the 12kg stone showing where the differential aging processes of the desert placed Earth’s stamp of approval upon this piece of Asteroid.

 

Columbine of Aspen

A cleaned heavy Campo comes close to representing a Hollywood meteorite as envisioned flying through space. The jagged surface, crater holes and intense density make for an eye-catching item du jour.

 

Columbine of Aspen

A beautiful hand-sized specimen of Libyan Desert Glass is truly something to behold. I would love to display this near a window in my home.

 

Columbine of Aspen

Well-formed and stable Campo de Cielo specimens abound. These workhorse irons are a great entry into display-sized meteorites.

 

Columbine of Aspen

Smaller but still interesting Campos are available for any budget. These palm-sized irons have great character and texture.

 

Columbine of Aspen

Even smaller Campos are just the size to jumpstart future meteorite aficionados.

 

Columbine of Aspen

A large slice of the Seymchan Pallasite that highlights the variety of internal matrix options this unusual stony-iron contains.

 

Columbine of Aspen

For those Troilite lovers among us, this etched slice of Seymchan contains a thumb-sized nodule.

 

Columbine of Aspen

A stunning etched complete slice of the fine octahedrite from Sweden named Muonionalusta.

 

Columbine of Aspen

For the smaller taste, an elegant etched hand specimen of Muonionalusta provides an abundance of octahedrite crystal faces to gaze at.

 

Columbine of Aspen

A huge thank you to Simon for sharing his store with me that afternoon. Aspen, Colorado has no shortage of things to do, but visiting Columbine of Aspen should be one of them. From now on, it will be a destination for me.
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