Art And Culture

Christie’s Outlandish Gifts Sale

Christie’s Outlandish Gifts SaleChristie’s Outlandish Gifts Sale

Searching for a creative present for the luxury homeowner who already has it all? Christie’s Deep Impact sale - featuring more than 40 magnificent meteorites - might just have the perfect extraterrestrial treasure.

With the relative ease of global travel and international shipping these days, finding a holiday gift that will really surprise the proverbial man or woman “who has everything” is a challenge. Where can one find a truly unique, exotic, or otherwise jaw-dropping present? For a start, try expanding the search to include other planets, says an article on

Through November 10, Christie’s Travel, Science and Natural History department is presenting “Deep Impact: Martian, Lunar and other Rare Meteorites,” an online auction featuring exceptional specimens from the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere in the solar system. Instead of a sculptor’s tools, these objects were chiseled into shape by the extreme temperatures of our own atmosphere just before they crashed to Earth. For anyone fascinated by space, geology, and even gemstones, the otherworldly objects in “Deep Impact” are sure to elicit a sense of awe.

According to James Hyslop, a Scientific Specialist at Christie’s, many collectors display meteorites as though they were works of art or Chinese Scholar’s’ Stones from the Qing dynasty, setting them on exquisite stands under gallery-style lighting to show off every one of their unique aspects.

 Awe Inspiring

One particularly eye-catching example is Lot No. 4, a dark-reddish Gibeon meteorite of perfect proportions. A roughly rectangular form that appears to lean back on its heels and sports a hole positioned almost like an animal’s eye, it could easily sneak its way into the 20th-century sculpture court of a major museum.

As if the formal qualities of these meteorites weren’t enough, their provenance is truly awe inspiring. Most iron meteorites, including the sculptural Gibeon specimen, come from asteroids that orbited Mars or Jupiter not millions, but billions of years ago. They may look to us like art, but they predate both our existence and the very concept of art by a dizzying timespan.

“It’s actually quite a moving experience when you’re holding a piece of the planet Mars or the Moon in the palm of your hand,” says Hyslop, who has examined a great many other-worldly specimens over the course of his career. “You get a connection to these astronomical bodies in a way that you don’t when you’re just looking at photographs or reading about them in textbooks.”

Not all meteorites look as though they were forged in iron; some glint in the light like jewels, and that’s because they actually contain gemstones. An example of this is Lot No. 2, a large slice of Imilac meteorite. The translucent, amber-colored elements in this specimen are crystals of olivine as well as peridot, August’s birthstone, the familiar semi-precious stone that’s actually composed of gem-quality olivine crystals.