Are Meteorites Valuable?

As many rocks are valuable for their aesthetics, meteorites are also valuable, although their value depends on more than just their appearance. 

Also, because there are different classes and subclasses of meteorites, their value differs based on their origin, type, and how they’ve been preserved. Another important factor to consider in determining the value of a meteorite is its size.

Generally, the value of meteorites can range from a few dollars per gram to thousands of dollars per kilogram. 

Uncommon types, older, and heavier meteorites command more value than others. Therefore, stony Meteorites aren’t as valuable as iron and stony-iron meteorites.

This piece will help you understand what meteorites really are and the types that you’ll commonly find in museums and a collector’s possession. You’ll also find out if meteorites are valuable, and if they are, how valuable they can be.

What are Meteorites?

Meteorites are derivatives of meteors. Meteors are rocks that fall from other planets, usually the asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter, towards the earth’s surface. 

When meteors enter the earth, they approach its surface at a high speed and generate so much heat that they burn. 

Smaller meteors burn completely before reaching the earth’s surface; they are what we call shooting stars, while bigger meteors retain some mass and hit the earth’s surface, creating craters and explosions that are proportional to their size. Meteors become meteorites after their impact on the earth’s surface.

Meteorites, as a result of meteors’ explosion, when they reach the earth’s surface, disperse for kilometers away from their craters. They usually contain minerals and metals such as iron, nickel, and cobalt. 

These minerals and metals, present in different concentrations, combine to give each class and subclass of meteorites their characteristic appearance, which influences their value and use.

Types of Meteorites

While meteorites reach the earth in the same manner, there are different types of meteorites and they are classified into three major classes – stony, iron, and stony-iron meteorites. Each class has a different combination range of minerals and metals.

  1. Stony Meteorites

Stony Meteorites are the most common types of meteorites on earth. They are rocky and similar to earth’s rock but that only makes them difficult to identify. 

They contain a small percentage of iron but point to a planet’s outer core origin. There are two types of stony meteorites:

Chondrites stony meteorite

This type of stony meteorite has a grainy surface. It is made from billions of years of sand-like and mineral accumulation to form the rock mass. The grainy surface, called chondrules, remains intact through the years.

Achondrite stony meteorite 

Achondrite meteorites differ from chondrites in their formation and physical appearance. Where chondrites have sponge-like surfaces, achondrites are relatively smooth as a result of the burning and melting of their mass over time. This points to a parent material that has a hot, molten core.

  1. Iron Meteorites

Iron meteorites are a rare type of meteorite although they are easily recognizable. They contain a higher percentage of iron and nickel present as alloys – kamacite and taenite. 

With a rate of nickel, usually as high as 25% and not less than 5%, it is easy to distinguish meteoric iron from man-made iron.

They also melt to form a distinct pattern on their surface. However, they retain most of their mass even after impact with the earth’s surface and they’re thought to be the core of their asteroid.

Iron meteorites are valued by collectors and academicians. They are also useful for tourist attractions.

  1. Stony-Iron Meteorites

Stony-iron meteorites combine the properties of both iron and stony meteorites. They arguably contain equal parts of nickel-iron alloys and silicates. They are the rarest types of meteorites and are a source of gemstones. There are two types of stony-iron meteorites:


Pallasites are distinct in their formation. The silicate (majorly olivine) is suspended in a nickel-iron matrix so that when cut and polished, it produces a translucent crystal that is usually green, although it can also be gold, yellow, or brown. 

In cases where the olivine crystal has adequate purity, they are called gemstone peridot.


Mesosiderites are also rare but they don’t have the aesthetic quality of the pallasites. They are presumed to form as a result of a collision between the cores of two asteroids. 

They are characterized by the dark coloration provided by the silicates on the meteorite and the silver flakes and linings on it, pointing to the presence of nickel and iron alloys. 

Valuable Attachment to Meteorites?

We can ascribe two types of values to meteorites, their use value and their monetary value. The value of meteorites depends mostly on their use as they influence their price, among other things. 

And since there are different types of meteorites, they have different uses. The common uses of meteorites include:

For Tourist Attraction

As humans our fascination with things we don’t understand is unmatched. Meteorites are strange things to many humans. The circumstances surrounding their presence on earth, their origin, and nature, contribute to the strange attraction we feel towards wanting to understand it.

Meteorites are named after places where they are found, and usually, there are stories surrounding their discovery on the earth’s surface. Many museums collect meteorites to showcase and attract tourists’ attention to them.

From the boring and stony meteorites to the cut and polished crystals of pallasites, you’ll find them in contained shelves where people pay to gawk at them. Therefore, there is some value attached to meteors when they are used as tourist attractions.

For academic and research purposes

In our quest to understand the solar system, meteors and meteorites have helped us to conclude that there’s life on other planets, especially Mars, other than earth.

Academicians and researchers take interest in meteorites because they provide answers to what other planets are made of. It is for research purposes that newly found meteorites are first tested and appropriately categorized by researchers. Also, categorizing a meteorite increases its monetary value.

For aesthetic purposes

Jewelry such as rings is commonly made from meteorites. The pallasites are the most beautiful crystals of all types of meteorites, and despite their rarity, they’re constantly in demand. As a gemstone, pallasites are one of the most valuable ones you can find.

Buyers of aesthetically pleasing pieces of jewelry will pay a premium for rings and necklaces adorned with meteorites. The purer the crystal is, the costlier the meteorite jewelry is.

For sentimental purposes

Many collectors have meteorites not because they have any aesthetic or research use for them, but because they have some sentimental attachment to them. 

Some religions have attachments to stony meteorites and those who practice such religions, and have stony meteorites, hold on to them as an item of value.

Also, there’s a sentimental belief that meteorites are sacred rocks that can heal sicknesses and diseases. This belief increases the value of meteorites.

Factors That Determine the Value of a Meteorite

Meteorites are valuable, but they don’t all have the same value. Some of the factors that determine the commercial value of a meteorite include:

Rarity of Type

Not all types of meteorites are desirable and valued the same way. A stony meteorite doesn’t have the same value as a stony-iron meteorite. 

Stony meteorites are relatively common and bear some resemblance to terrestrial rocks. Although they can be difficult to identify and differentiate from common rocks, they hold some value for research purposes.

Stony-iron meteorites, especially pallasites, are more desirable because they are rarer than other types of meteorites.

Condition of Preservation

Meteorites have been falling to the earth’s surface for as long as mankind knows. However, the means of preserving the rocks isn’t known to everyone. 

Before the knowledge that meteorites contain metals such as iron, nickel, and cobalt, became popular, people stored them how they saw fit. However, keeping a meteorite from rusting is the most important thing in preserving its value.

As all meteorites contain some percentage of metal, they are susceptible to rust. Therefore, keeping them away from the agents of weathering will help to preserve them and their value. 

A meteorite with a rust stain or patina and another without rust, even though they have the same properties, won’t have the same value. The better-preserved meteorite will have more value.


The origin of a substance is its provenance. Where a meteorite comes from is important in determining its value. 

While it is difficult to deduce the origin of a meteorite by looking at it, it can be determined by scientific examination and comparison to the already examined meteorites.

It is for identification and classification that it is advisable to subject newly discovered meteorites to scientific examination before they are used for other purposes. 

The scientific examination helps to identify the type of meteorite one holds and that’ll help you know its actual value.


One of the primary reasons many people are concerned about the value of meteorites is their use in the manufacture of jewelry. The more aesthetic potential a meteorite has, the more value it has.

Pallasites can be considered the most valuable of all meteorites based on this factor. However, all pallasites don’t possess the same value as their olivine crystals differ in purity.

How Valuable are Meteorites?

While every type of meteorite has some value, you can estimate the value of your meteorite by considering the factors that influence its value, including its use. 

Meteorites have different values based on different characteristics. The common values that are attached to meteorites are:

Commercial value

The commercial value of a meteorite refers to the amount of money it’ll command in the rocks market. 

Different factors influence the commercial value of a meteorite, and they include the appearance of the meteorite, the type of the meteorite, and the intended use of the meteorite. The other factors discussed above also influence the commercial value of a meteorite.

Generally, iron meteorites can cost between $0.5 to $5 per gram. However, stone meteorites can cost between $2 to $20 per gram. Stony-iron meteorites, being the rarest of all the types of meteorites, can be as costly as $1000 per gram.

Research value

Meteorites offer a clue about what exists on the other planets of the solar system. They help us to have an idea of what can be detrimental or beneficial to us, should we decide to visit their planets of origin.

Research has helped us to conveniently categorize meteorites into classes that make differentiating them easier. However, it is possible to make the task of differentiating meteorites easier if there are more meteorites to research.

While iron meteorites are easy to recognize from stony meteorites, stony-iron meteorites can be tricky. The two subclasses of the stony-iron meteorites – pallasites and mesosiderites – have no similarities but are in the same class. 

Further research on stony-iron meteorites may help us to classify pallasites and mesosiderites into different classes, given enough meteorite samples and a basis for the difference.

Sentimental value

Religious and customary sentiments exist in all tribes all over the world. The sentimental value attached to meteorites differs among religions. While some religions view them as sacred stones, others don’t see them as special. 

The healing attributes associated with meteorites cuts across all types but many religions favor stony-iron meteorites over other types. However, they may not be able to differentiate them from iron meteorites.

Therefore, the sentimental value attached to meteorites depends on what type of religion or custom has an interest in it. However, despite the sentimental value attached to them, their commercial value is rarely exceeded for sentiments.

Final Thoughts

Meteorites are rocky debris that falls to the earth’s surface from other planets, especially the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The different types of meteorites are stony, iron, and stony-iron meteorites, and they are differentiated by the percentage of nickel, iron, and cobalt they contain.

Meteorites have different values – research, commercial, and sentimental – but certain factors, such as the rarity of type and aesthetic potential, influence their value. Pallasites are the most valuable meteorites as they can sell for as high as $1000 per gram.

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