Some of World’s Oldest Jewelry Actually from Space?

Alex Fetanat’s newest blog post:

Alex Fetanat on Jewelry Made from Meteors

Scientists have confirmed that some ancient Egyptian jewelry is in fact made from meteoric iron.

Usually when someone says a piece of jewelry is “out of this world,” they’re simply using an expression to get across how much they love the piece.  Rarely will you get an opportunity to use the saying literally.  Scientists studying beads found on a necklace in an Egyptian cemetary recently got the chance when they confirmed that the 5,000 year old beads were made of iron that fell to the Earth’s surface from a meteorite.

A recent National Geographic article details the back and forth on the subject since the necklace was discovered in 1911.  Scientists have long suspected that the iron beads were other worldly, but lacked the evidence to prove it.  When the beads were first found, scientists used rudimentary techniques to detect that there was nickel present, but they could not determine how much.  In the 80s, a new generation of scientists believed that a new piece of technology called and electron microprobe would give definitive evidence, but once again the tests came up inconclusive.  Archaelogists and scientists, however, were unwilling to discard the possibility that these beads were from meteorites because the metal work predated the iron age.  Just this week, scientists revealed that the beads had a much higher level of germanium than found in man made iron.  This was the conclusive proof they were looking for to be able to confirm a century old suspicion that the material to make these beads came from outer space.

It is amazing to consider that Egyptians 5,000 years ago had the skill to produce elegant and sophisticated jewelry like the beads in question.  While technology such as diamond cutting has certainly changed the way we value jewelry, creating it is, in many ways, a timeless art.  It was practiced in ancient times.  It is practiced today.  And probably will be practiced as long as human beings have an appreciation for beautiful things.

via Alex Fetanat


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