I'm no astronaut.
January 23, 2008 2:47 PM   Subscribe

How can I give my girlfriend an engagement ring with a stone made of moon rock?

My girlfriend and I are sort of post-hippie types who tend to buck tradition. We're not ready to get married yet, but I think its pretty likely in the next 1-2 years, and I want to get her a ring with a stone made of things Not Of This World. Does NASA hold auctions? What about the Russians? The Soviet space program had moon rocks, right? Or can I count on the Chinese to go to space and bring back enough rocks to make them cheaper than a lead-doped Barbie?

If and when I get my hands on a piece of our lunar neighbor, can I get a geologist or a jeweler to work with it? I don't care about the shapes you typically get with cut diamond -- in fact, the more authentic, the better.

Should I be worried about the longevity of the rock? Will our lame-ass atmosphere cause it to degrade and turn to dust in our lifetimes?
posted by ben242 to Science & Nature (19 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
The Wikipedia entry for 'moon rock' will answer some of your questions.
posted by box at 2:52 PM on January 23, 2008

Considering these articles, I'd be suspicious of any "moon rock" someone tries to sell you.

Perhaps you'd settle for a meteorite of some sort?
posted by Gucky at 2:54 PM on January 23, 2008

The Moon Treaty of 1984, "Declares for any samples obtained during research activities, the state that obtained them must consider making part of it available to all countries/scientific communities for research."

I think you'd have better luck buying a piece of a meteorite.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:54 PM on January 23, 2008

Why not get her a moonstone? It could be a little in joke between you.
posted by red_lotus at 3:02 PM on January 23, 2008

It's not from space, but a ring with aerogel would be so cool. If I ever have any money I'm going to try and make some aerogel jewelry somehow.
posted by Metroid Baby at 3:12 PM on January 23, 2008

Whatever you do, just remember that an engagement ring that is worn every day should have a hard enough stone (or rock or bit of spacedust) to be able to take a hit from time to time. When I was shopping for a ring I wanted to get an emerald, as I was against the whole diamond thing, but found out that emerald engagement rings easily and often get scratched, dented and damaged. (It turns out that sapphires are hard enough to last and were the most common engagement stones until the diamond industry initiated a massive campaign to make diamonds the standard.)
posted by farishta at 3:31 PM on January 23, 2008

Best answer: One more vote for meteorite. More common, available, and the can be quite strking, visually. Looking for images, I stumbled on this page, which sells...meteorite wedding rings!
posted by HighTechUnderpants at 3:54 PM on January 23, 2008 [4 favorites]

Collection costs for moon rocks were $50,800 (in 1962-1973 dollars) which is $206,000 today. That's just the production cost. On the open market they could probably sell for many times that PER GRAM. According to the previously linked site, Sotheby's auctioned less than a gram of Soviet-scooped moon pebbles for $442,500 in 1993.

You may want to reconsider.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:56 PM on January 23, 2008

that's $50,800 per gram.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:57 PM on January 23, 2008

You could consider larimar or labradorite instead - both have a certain sci-fi quality.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:58 PM on January 23, 2008

And of course, you could get her a geode.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:06 PM on January 23, 2008

You could hunt for (or purchase) a meteorite (video).
posted by glibhamdreck at 4:28 PM on January 23, 2008

Give her any old rock and explain to her that she's getting better than a stupid old moon rock -- she's getting a rock made of elements formed in a long-ago-exploded star, and by the way did she know that every particle in her body is actually 13.7 billion years old anyway?

This might just be a matter of proper framing.
posted by Camofrog at 4:32 PM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You can purchase, although I have no how you could authenticate, jewelry made from lunar meteorites.
posted by rdr at 5:27 PM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This store seems to sell engagement (and other) rings containing fragments of actual moonrock-cum-meteorites as well. Here's one.

The description claims that the rock came from meteorite "Dhofar 461", which was originally part of the moon. I wonder if it's legit.
posted by sentient at 5:32 PM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

A meteorite can be considered more "out of this world" anyway I suspect since it may well have arrived from far away whereas the moon is merely a lump of Earth that broke away. Or so I believe one of the popular theories has it.
posted by NailsTheCat at 8:00 PM on January 23, 2008

This is an awesome idea! For some future movie night after you present this ring, may I suggest the MST3K version of "Track of the Moon Beast" (which you can download in various places), a tale of young love and mysterious human-transforming meteorites... ("A meterorite? A lunar meteorite!? Moon rocks, oh WOW!!")
posted by sparrows at 9:40 PM on January 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

Moon rocks are mostly basalt, if you just wanted to get her a ring with a stone that is made of what the moon is made of.

I love the meteorite wedding rings. I can see the slogan now: "THE LOVE THAT FELL TO EARTH."
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:37 PM on January 23, 2008

Manolo for the Brides had a post about meteorite rings today.
posted by srah at 12:30 PM on January 25, 2008

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