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Tektites are very unique in that they form when a meteorite melts the earth that it comes in contact with. Often, this is in the form of molten rock and sand turned molten from the heat of impact, and may be tossed into the air, raining down as a natural glass. Tektites are named from their locations, i.e. moldavite is from the Moldau river area of the Czech Republic. Common colors of this natural glass are yellow, green, gray to black, and colorless.

Tektite Polished
Tektite Classification
Common Name Tektite
Species Glass
Tektite Optical Properties
Transparency Translucent - Opaque
Dispersion Strength: None
Refractive Index 1.490-1.520
Optic Character NA
Optic Sign NA
Polariscope Reaction Singly Refractive (SR) With ADR
Fluorescence SWUV: Inert
LWUV: Inert
Pleochroism None
Tektite Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 5.5-6.5
Specific Gravity 2.340-2.510
Toughness Poor
Inclusions Tektites often have round and elongated gas bubbles, flow lines and a roiled, cloudy or turbid appearance.
Luster Vitreous
Fracture Conchoidal
Cleavage None
Tektite Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name silica
Chemical Formula SiO2 (75% silica+Al, Ca, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Ti)
Crystal System NA
Chemistry Classification Mineraloid

Tektite Colors

  • Green Tektite Green
  • Brown Tektite Brown
  • Black Tektite Black
  • Yellow Tektite Yellow

Alternate Names

Moldavite; Indochinites; Georgiaites; Australites; Bediasites; Philippinites; Ivorites

Countries of Origin

Tanzania, United Republic Of; United States of America (the); Viet Nam; Unknown; Czechia; China; Philippines (the); Australia; Kazakhstan; Thailand


Normal care

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Libyan Desert Glass

This naturally forming glass is found in the Western Desert of Egypt.Although it was only discovered by the scientific community in 1932, we know of Libyan desert glass being used for ornamentation as far back as Ancient Egypt.Its origin is disputed, as some believe it is a tektite, like moldavite, formed from a meteor impact, while others believe it formed as a result of the aerial explosion of a meteorite that did not make impact.

Libyan Desert Glass Tektite
Libyan Desert Glass Classification
Common Name Libyan Desert Glass
Libyan Desert Glass Optical Properties
Refractive Index 1.46
Libyan Desert Glass Characteristic Physical properties
Inclusions Libyan desert glass might contain irregularly shaped gas bubbles and tiny rounded grains.
Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.