Arizonaites --- Saffordites


(I have constructed a new Saffordites page and will be transferring the remnants of this page there. Be sure to visit the new page of stunning new material. Click this link to go there.)

Some debates refuse to die. "Arizonaites", also known as "Saffordites" in allusion to their most noted source locality near Safford, Arizona, are, almost certainly, terrestrial obsidian. But their dimpled and sometimes grooved surfaces can bear a significant resemblance to genuine tektites. Reportedly, when these are intensely heated with a torch, some do not froth like normal obsidian (others do---), suggesting a low volatile content, a classic tektite trait. However, these will attract a delicately suspended strong magnet, suggesting the presence of crystalline magnetite, not true of known tektites.

Our personal field investigations show the Saffordites to be associated with alluvial gravels consisting almost exclusively of volcanic material. Immediately adjacent alluvial fans made up of granitic detritus (and devoid of volcanics) contain no Saffordites. We can imagine mitigating circumstances, but in general, if something falls from the sky it should not care at all about the composition of the ground surface upon which it happens to fall. That said, we have not yet located any areas where Saffordites can be found in situ within a volcanic host rock (which would settle the argument once and for all).

My opinion remains that the weight of evidence supports a non-tektite determination. None-the-less, there are true believers out there that are convinced these ARE tektites. The debate has some value: before one can discuss the matter rationally, you must settle on a working definition for "tektite" and come to terms with their distinguishing characteristics. This is a surprisingly difficult assignment and is part of the reason these controversies remain.

Like Colombianites, many Saffordites show very high clarity and a pale gray color with just the slightest hint of purplish-brown in transmitted light. Some are nearly opaque, while others show banded colors. Most have a dull matte or frosted skin.

The specimens we offer here are true "Saffordites" from a locality near Safford, Arizona, USA. "Arizonaites" is a broader term that can include other localities, but Safford is the classic. We use the two terms as close synonyms (Saffordites are Arizonaites, but not all Arizonaites are Saffordites. All that we offer at this time are Saffordite Arizonaites.

Here's a transmitted light close-up to show you the distinctive smoky lavender tint that characterizes good Colombianites and Arizonaites. This color is unlike Apache Tears or any other definite terrestrial obsidians that I have known. It is also true that gray-black internal layers and bands, both planar and folded, are often seen and do match those of definite volcanic obsidian. (But for those intent on debate, they can also resemble Muong Nong-type tektites---) If this was easy it would not be so much fun. We have been wrong before. Who knows? You may be buying a new type of tektite (I don't think this to be true) for next to nothing, but whatever the case, you need a few examples to illustrate your argument, whichever way you swing!



Everyone: I have a waiting list for new stones and typically by the time I contact the listees, there is nothing left to post. If you are wanting Saffordites, email me




Here is an earlier table that still has a few left---- Sorry, this Table now SOLD OUT  Table 1  

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25: 9.0 gms Sold
26 : 7.6 gms: Sold
27: 6.2 gms Sold
28: 4.3 gms Sold
29: 4.7 gms Sold
30: 8.7 gms Sold
31: 5.0 gms Sold
32: 6.7 gms Sold
33: 6.3 gms Sold
34: 4.6 gms Sold
35: 2.6 gms Sold
36: 5.9 gms Sold
37: 4.4 gms Sold
38: 2.7 gms Sold
39: 5.4 gms Sold
40: 4.4 gms Sold
41: 2.3 gms Sold
42: 6.5 gms Sold
43: 2.3 gms Sold
44: 4.3 gms Sold
45: 5.3 gms Sold

NEW LISTING January 19, 2015

These are typical Saffordites, in size, morphology, and ornamentation. Pricing reflects a combination of mass and quality of ornamentation. For a given weight, higher pricing gives an indication of our assessment of specimen quality.


Sorry, this Table now SOLD OUT

  Specimen Number Description and price


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To order, drop us an email (nlehrman@nvbell.net) with your selection. We will confirm availability and get back to you.
B1 7.1 gm; $15Sold
B2 5.5 gm; $9 SoldWhite caliche coating on basal surface
B3 5.2 gm; $7 Soldglassy chip
B4 5.2 gm; $9Sold
B5 4.8 gm; $9Sold
B6 4.6 gm; $9Sold
B7 4.3 gm; $7Sold
B8 4.0 gm; $8Sold
B9 4.0 gm; $7Sold
B10 3.8 gm; $8Sold
B11 3.7 gm; $6Sold
B12 3.7 gm; $8Sold
B13 3.7 gm; $8Sold
B14 3.6 gm; $8Sold
B15 3.5 gm: $7Sold
B16 3.4 gm; $8 Soldnternal layering
B17 3.4 gm; $8Sold
B18 3.3 gm; $8 Solddarker "U"-shaped internal band
B19 3.2 gm; $3 Solda flake; entire basal surface is a fresh glassy break
B20 3.2 gm; $5Sold
B21 3.1 gm; $5Sold
B22 3.1 gm; $6Sold
B23 3.0 gm; $6Sold
B24 3.0 gm; $6Sold
B25 2.9 gm; $5Sold
B26 2.9 gm; $5Sold
B27 2.9 gm; $4Sold
B28 2.8 gm; $4Sold
B29 2.8 gm; $3Sold
B30 2.8 gm; $3Sold
B31 2.7 gm; $4Sold
B32 2.7 gm; $4Sold
B33 2.6 gm; $3Sold
B34 2.5 gm; $3Sold
B35 2.3 gm; $3Sold
B36 2.2 gm; $2 Soldanother flake; entire basal surface is a fresh glassy break
B37 2.1 gm; $3Sold
B38 2.0 gm; $3Sold
B39 2.0 gm; $2Sold
B40 1.9 gm; $2Sold
B41 1.6 gm; $4Sold
B42 1.5 gm; $2Sold
B43 1.5 gm; $2Sold
B44 1.4 gm; $2Sold
B45 1.4 gm; $2Sold
B46 1.3 gm; $2Sold
B47 1.3 gm; $3Sold
B48 1.2 gm; $2Sold
B49 1.2 gm; $2Sold
B50 1.1 gm; $2Sold
B51 1.0 gm; $2Sold
B52 0.9 gm; $1Sold
B53 0.9 gm; $1Sold
B54 0.8 gm; $1Sold
B55 0.7 gm; $1Sold
   

Some "sold" specimens to illustrate particularly good tektite-like skin character

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